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Autumn Scavenger Hunt - Great for Autumn Family Walks

Posted by Gav Grayston.
First Published Sept 2013; updated May 2023.

Autumn is a great time of year for walks. If you are hiking with young kids, try this Autumn Scavenger Hunt to motivate them.

Autumn is always a good time of year for walks.

Yes, it can be windy. Yes, it can be wet. And cold too sometimes. But get the right gear, and that's not a problem.

We still go camping in early Autumn, but it becomes less practical as the Winter draws in, but that's soon replaced with Autumn walks - and there's something great about getting out in the fresh air, warm soup, and a nice big meal afterwards. 🙂

finding things

Get young kids to find things when walking in Autumn

Walking with young kids has its challenges. Your distance and speed will drastically reduce if you're a serious walker.

You won't encourage your kids to walk much faster (little legs only cover so much ground), but you can build up the distance bit by bit.

We've found that small kids are in one of two modes:

  1. Too busy exploring and not noticing how far they are walking
  2. 'I'm tired!' and not wanting to walk another step

Obviously, you want to keep them in 'Mode 1'!

Fortunately, many things in Autumn will distract them, and the simplest is asking them to find many of the things blown from the trees.

An Autumn Scavenger Hunt

On a recent walk, with the first signs of Autumn and wind blowing through the trees, our youngest didn't even need to be asked to find things. He was off and proudly showed us his bounty.

However, if you're stuck for ideas, here are a few things you could ask them to find in an Autumn scavenger hunt.

Mix and match the following, as appropriate for your walk. (Tip: take a bag with you; they will probably want to take their finds home!)

  • 10 acorns
  • 10 acorns still in their cups
  • Sycamore seeds
  • 5 pine cones
  • 5 different shaped leaves
  • 5 conkers
  • A sweet chestnut and horse chestnut (see below for help!)
  • Different types of feather

I'm sure you get the idea and can think of more things to add.

If they're still reluctant, offer a prize to whoever completes the challenge.

How to tell the difference between a Sweet Chestnut and a Horse Chestnut (a conker)

Horse and Sweet Chesnuts

The difference between a horse chestnut and a sweet chestnut. Conkers are horse chestnuts.

Horse chestnuts come in a thick case with large spikes on them.

Sweet chestnuts come in a case with many fine spikes and look like a little bright green hedgehog.

In a sweet chestnut, you may get a couple of small nuts. It's sweet chestnuts that are traditionally roasted and eaten at Christmas time.

In a horse chestnut, you may find one large nut, which is generally used for conkers.