Preschool Scavenger Hunts: Learning Through Observation

Learn how to take your preschooler out for a word, shape, color, or nature scavenger hunt.
By Bekki Lindner

Ages

3-5

Preschool Scavenger Hunts: Learning Through Observation

Our preschoolers learn through play, observation, and exploration. While thoughtful and intentional worksheets have their place in a young learner’s education, children gain so much through guided and free exploration of the world around them.

Scavenger hunts are an easy, adaptable, and fun way to interact with your child and help them start making discoveries of their own.  It doesn’t matter if you’re grocery shopping, spending time at the park, or driving in the car -- there are always things your child can be searching for. Not only can scavenger hunts be done just about anywhere, they also boost observation skills and help children develop early learning skills in a fun, relaxed, and natural way. Plus, it’s just so much more fun to hunt for the color red, the letter E, and an octagon than it is to fill in a paper about them!

As you begin to encourage your child to become more aware of his surroundings, your child will begin to make observations independently. This morning, my son grabbed my hand and excitedly pointed to an EXIT sign. “Mommy! I know those letters! I see an E and an X!” I have loved seeing the world through his eyes -- reveling in the details along with him.

Encourage your child to strap on her “eagle eyes” and start making discoveries! What will you find together? What will you see? Have fun!

Look for Colors
Go on a search for every color in the rainbow. Challenge your child to find something of each color. If he spots a color he doesn’t know, talk about it!

Look for Shapes
Young learners are always so excited to discover how much of their world is made up of shapes. Help your child look for the basic shapes, like rectangles and squares, but don’t hesitate from introducing her to shapes like parallelograms and trapezoids. You can also begin to talk about three-dimensional shapes like cylinders and cubes.

Look for Letters
Even if your child cannot yet identify the letters, encouraging observation of environmental print can boost early literacy skills. Your preschooler will quickly begin to notice that letters are all around him. If your child knows his letters, give him specific letters to search for.

Look for Nature
Kids learn so much through careful observation of the natural world. As they inspect insects, rocks, and leaves, they have opportunity to simultaneously learn about texture, color, shape, size, etc.

If you are looking for printable resources, I created a Nature Scavenger Hunt and a Beach Scavenger Hunt on my website.

Take the challenge and help your little learner make some discoveries this week! Happy searching! 

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