Kids Educational Activities: Zoo Scavenger Hunt
The next time you are planning a trip to the zoo, why not add a little more fun to the day? A Zoo Scavenger Hunt is a great way to learn about animals while enjoying the visit!
Some zoos have free scavenger hunts available on their web sites! If you don't find one there, call the education center to ask. Or, create your own!
Scavenger Hunt Themes
To create a fun scavenger hunt at the zoo, first select a theme. There are many options to choose from, based on the age of the hunters. The zoo's web site can help with ideas of what you can expect to find there, if you haven't visited this zoo in the past. Here are some potential themes for your zoo hunt:
For younger children:
- Find individual animals (provide a list, such as bear, tiger, shark, etc.)
- Find animals that live in a particular environment (on land, in water, in trees)
- Find animals that are all the same color.
- Find items besides animals, such as a sign with an arrow, a restaurant, a big tree, or a red flower
For older children:
- Give them a specific food, and have them find animals that eat that food, such as plants, insects, fish, etc.
- Find animals that have a certain type of outside covering, such as fur, scales, or exoskeleton.
- Find animals that are mammals, reptiles, birds, etc. For this theme, ask them to find a specific number of each.
Check the zoo's web site when you plan your trip to find lists of animals, a map of the zoo, and more ideas to help design the scavenger hunt!
Scavenger Hunt Methods
Next, decide how you want the children to identify when they've found an item on the list. This method will depend on the ages of the kids, but here are a few ideas:
List Checkoff. Provide a list to the kids at the beginning of the trip, and have them check off the items with pencil or crayon.
Draw what you see. Next to each item in the list, leave some room for them to draw a picture of the list item.
Take Pictures! Have the kids use a camera or smart phone to take pictures of the items. To confirm that they found the items, you can view the pictures. You can also make these into a fun photo book or collage to commemorate the visit!
Zoo Game Variations
There are many variations to the zoo scavenger hunt that are also fun and educational.
- Make a crossword puzzle with clues from the zoo web site. There are many online sites that will allow you to make a crossword puzzle (you fill in the words) and print it out for the kids to complete.
- Use a quiz instead of a scavenger hunt list and have the children answer questions. For example, you could ask what a shark eats, or which animals live in the desert.
- Cater to their interests by creating a scavenger hunt or puzzle that is focused on an area they most enjoy, such as animals of the ocean or plains.
Scavenger hunts are easy and fun ways to get your children learning about their environment. Try them at the zoo or on any other excursion to keep them interested. Happy hunting!