Garden Scavenger Hunt

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Activity Name: Creative Garden Scavenger Hunt           


Theme (i.e. science, language arts, math): Language Arts


Learning outcomes: The students will be exercising their naturalist, linguistic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and body-kinesthetic intelligences in this activity. Depending on the age level, they should learn to be more observant in the garden and also learn a little bit about how and why things happen there. Also, they will of course be reading the clues and writing down some descriptions, stories, and poems based on what they have found. They will then share those in a discussion where they will be required to actively listen to others and discuss their own findings.


Cross-curricular connections: This connects somewhat to the science theme, as they will examine and hypothesize about things that they discover in the garden. They may have to deduce what might have happened to an object they found to give it the texture or color that it has.

Links to learning standards: The students will be required to first listen to the directions, read the clues, find the objects, and write down responses perhaps in plain description, poetry form, or as a short story - linking to following directions, reading, and creative writing standards. They will then discuss as a group by reading their work aloud, asking and answering questions, expressing opinions and communicating ideas, and listening to others while they are speaking.


Evaluation approach: We will verbally discuss our findings and share our favorite finding or response with the group.



If there are students who are unable to read, it works well to break up into groups/pairs with one person who can read. We would then discuss their findings longer to include more listening, communication, story telling, and maybe some writing practice if the words are written down for them.

For older students, encourage more writing and use more clues that include deducing what occurred before they arrived or why something is the way they found it. This might include clues such as, “Write a short fiction story about one of the items on your list. Where did it come from? How did it get to where you found it?,” or “Write a phrase using one of your items with as much alliteration as you possibly can,” or “Find an item that reminds you of a personal experience and recount that here.”


Time requirement: 20 minutes (10 minutes outside, 10 minutes for discsussion, modifiable!)


Materials needed: The handout, markers/pencils


Activity Instructions (step by step):

  1. Ask if anyone has ever done a scavenger hunt. If there are some that have not, have someone who has done it explain what it is to the others.
  2. Further explain the activity: We will be going outside in a little while to observe what is out there and find objects based on clues that I provide. These clues may require you to do some creative writing on the things you find. You will be outside exploring for 10 minutes and we will then come back together for 5-10 minutes to discuss our findings and share what we’ve written about (may be longer if with older students who are writing more).
  3. Pass out the clues. Instruct students to put their names on the papers and read carefully.
  4. Ask if there are any words that are unknown or if they have any questions.
  5. Lead students outside and create parameters for areas they can explore if necessary.
  6. After 8 minutes, provide 2 minute warning.
  7. After 10 minutes, bring students back together in a circle to discuss.
  8. Depending on the number of students, either go around the circle or allow random order, but ensure that everyone gets a turn to speak. Emphasize respectfulness in discussion. Have students share one item and the creative writing that they did to go along with that piece.
  9. Thank everyone for his or her input and participation. Remind them that this can be used at home or anywhere outside, and can be used at different times of the year to find different things. Send off with a nature quote or poem.


Clues for middle-level students (could be adapted higher or lower):

  1. Find something that starts with the letter "T".
  2. Find something that is red and write why you think it is the color that it is.
  3. Find something that is moving and describe what it is doing.
  4. Find something that makes a crunch sound.
  5. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. Write down an onomatopoeia (examples: sizzle, crackle, whack) for one of the sounds.
  6. Find something that is soft.
  7. Find something that smells good and describe its smell.
  8. Find something that is sharp and write down why you think it is sharp.
  9. Find something that is hiding.
  10. Find something that stands out most to you or is your favorite thing that you came across, describe it, and say why it is your favorite.


Supplemental material for older students:

  1. Write a phrase using one of your items with as much alliteration as you possibly can.
  2. Choose one of the items you found and write a fun fiction story about how it got to where it was when you found it (can be as wild and whimsical as you want!)
  3. Choose an item that reminds you of a previous experience you have had and recount that story.
  4. Write a hypothesis for why one of the items you found looks, feels, sounds, or smells the way it does and how you actually think it got to where it was where you found it (non-fiction).
  5. Choose a sight, a sound, a texture or a smell that you experienced and write a haiku about it (5, 7, 5).

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