Festive Fall Scavenger Hunt

There are tiny fall treasures hidden in plain sight, all over your yard—if you know where to look! See if you can spot some of nature's wonders tucked away in your backyard, neighborhood, park, or playground. This family-friendly game is always ready and waiting to play, right outside your door.

What You'll Need (for each player or team)

  • A printed checklist and a pencil
  • A watch, stopwatch, or another way to keep track of the time
  • A smartphone to keep track of your list and snap photos of your findings (optional)
  • A kids' digital camera, for little ones to "collect" items along with way (optional)

Get Ready... Get Set...

1. Make your checklist. Depending upon where you live, fall might treat you to different discoveries! Jot down items you might spy as you explore nature in your yard. Try to think of as many objects as you can—both from nature, and from the garden. We'll get you started:

  • Green leaf
  • Yellow leaf
  • Leaf smaller than a quarter
  • Leaf bigger than your hand
  • Pinecones
  • Black rock
  • White rock
  • Red rock
  • Lawn sprinkler
  • Hose
  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Mailbox
  • Bucket
  • Fence
  • Stonewall
  • Feather
  • Bird nest
  • Anthill
  • Caterpillar
  • Moth or butterfly
  • Ladybug
  • Bee
  • Spider web
  • Bird
  • Green grass
  • Yellow or dry grass
  • Tree stump
  • Hollow tree
  • Twig
  • Mushroom
  • Moss
  • Pumpkin or squash
  • Flowering plant
  • Berries
  • Snake
  • Chipmunk
  • Mud
  • Puddle
  • Apple
  • Acorn
  • Cornstalk
  • Animal tracks
  • Mouse
  • Thistles

2. Decide if you'll play as a family or in teams, like kids versus grown-ups or adult-child pairs.

3. Give each team a checklist and pencil, or make sure each team has a smartphone or camera to record their finds.

4. Dress for the weather. Wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes and consider adding a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and insect spray to protect you from the elements.


1. Set a start time, end time, and boundaries for your scavenger hunt. The shorter the hunt, the faster and scrappier the game.

2. Step outside and determine a meeting place to start and end the game. When someone yells, "Go!" it's time to split up and start scavenging!

3. Keep your eyes peeled for the items on your list. When you see one, check it off—resist the urge to pick up and save the things you find. You can "collect it" by taking a photo.

4. Check off as many items as possible before time's up, then return to the meeting place to compare your findings. The team with the most check marks (or photos) wins!

It's easy to create new scavenger hunts as the seasons and weather change, or to switch up the rules to invent a brand-new game. For a season-long project the whole family can enjoy, keep the list handy whenever you're outdoors and keep on playing!