Head outside with our winter scavenger hunt printables! Perfect for family fun and outdoor adventures this chilly season.

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Flatlay Image of Four Printable Winter Scavenger Hunt Designs by Jolly Festive

As the winter months roll in, bringing the crisp, cold weather, it’s a great time for activities that embrace this fantastic winter season.

One perfect way to engage the whole family, especially the kids, is through a winter scavenger hunt. It’s a fun way to get some fresh air and explore the great outdoors.  And we’ve got 4 free printable checklists for you to enjoy – from woodland fun for little ones to winter scavenger adventures about town and a photo scavenger hunt for the older kids, there’s something for everyone.

What Is A Scavenger Hunt?

A scavenger hunt is a simple tick list of things to find. They’re fantastic for keeping the little ones busy and are the perfect activity for encouraging everyone to get out and about. As an educational tool, they spark conversations about the items you’re finding.

Personally, I’ve found scavenger hunts to be a brilliant way to motivate the boys off the sofa and outside. They’re easily adaptable for different ages, locations, and seasons. And these winter scavenger hunt ideas are just right for encouraging fresh air and exercise in the darker, colder months.

Free Printable Winter Scavenger Hunt Downloads

We’ve created 4 different free outdoor winter scavenger hunt printables for you to try:

  • A pre-schooler winter scavenger hunt with pictures of what to find.
  • A children’s winter woodland scavenger hunt.
  • A winter scavenger hunt suitable for walks in your local neighbourhood or town.
  • A photo scavenger hunt for older kids and teens.

You’ll find the free pdf downloads just below.

Winter Woodland Scavenger Hunt For Pre Schoolers

Toddler & Pre School Winter Scavenger Hunt

Designed with the littlies in mind, this printable scavenger hunt has images of the items front and centre so that those still learning to read can easily see what they’re looking to find.  Great for developing those early observation skills.

Download the Toddler & Pre School Winter Scavenger Hunt

Winter Woodland Scavenger Hunt For Children

Winter Woodland Scavenger Hunt

This longer scavenger hunt list has 20 winter items to find on your next woodland walk.  Suitable for primary school age children (and beyond).

Download the Winter Woodland Scavenger Hunt

Winter Scavenger Hunt In Town

Winter Scavenger Hunt In Town

With a more urban theme to the items, there’s still plenty of signs of winter to be enjoyed in town.  This scavenger hunt should be just the ticket if you’re going for a walk in your local neighbourhood or town.

Download the Winter Scavenger Hunt In Town

Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt

Photo Winter Scavenger Hunt

Designed with older kids and teenagers in mind, this scavenger hunt has a checklist of items to find and photograph as you explore.  See below for more details on how to use it.

Download the Photo Winter Scavenger Hunt

How To Use A Winter Scavenger Hunt

Our free printable winter scavenger hunts are designed to turn a simple walk in the woods, local park or neighbourhood into a bit more of a seasonal adventure. Just pick a scavenger hunt, print it off, grab a pen and your warm clothes, and start exploring.

The scavenger hunts are designed to enjoy on any chilly winter day and are purposely not Christmassy so they can be enjoyed throughout the whole season.  For Christmas-specific scavenger hunts, head here.

You can work together to find the things on the list.  Or you can turn it into a winter scavenger hunt game as individuals or teams race to finish the list first.  You might like to take photos of the winter-themed items as you see them.  You could even create a scrapbook afterwards as a memory of your winter nature walk and a way to keep the little ones busy when you get back home.  As you can see, there’s loads of ways to use the scavenger check lists.

Photo Scavenger Hunt For Older Kids

For the big kids and teens who might need a little something more, add a twist with a winter photo scavenger hunt.  Using their phones or instant cameras, they can capture the beauty of winter.  Ideal for amateur photography enthusiasts of course, this photo tick list is also a brilliant way of creating evidence if you’ve turned the scavenger hunt into a game. Add a time limit for completion of the list, or award bonus points for creative shots to up the challenge. 

​Leave No Trace

We love how scavenger hunts make us take notice of our surroundings, without damaging them. So, we’ve included ‘discarded rubbish’ and ‘a lost item’ in our list. It’s our way of nudging everyone to think about our environmental impact, and do a bit of casual cleaning-up along the way!

Woman Taking Photograph Of Bare Tree In Winter On Her Phone With Out Of Focus Snowy Environment Behind Her.

Capturing Photos on A Winter Walk

Indoor Hunts for Extra-Cold Days

Now, what if the winter weather is too nippy? Or if you just can’t get outside for some other reason.  Try an indoor winter scavenger hunt instead – perfect for those days when you’d rather stay wrapped in a cosy blanket.

Make Your Own Lists

Want to create your own winter scavenger hunt, perfectly suited to your local area? We’ve listed our ideas here to get you started.

For a woodland or nature park walk:

  • Acorn
  • Squirrel
  • Tree Stump
  • Footprints
  • Spider’s Web
  • Bird’s Nest
  • Holly
  • Lichen
  • Tree With No Leaves
  • Hole In A Tree Trunk
  • Insect
  • Twigs
  • Robin
  • Feather
  • Animal Tracks
  • Red Berries
  • Winter Flower
  • Evergreen Tree
  • Pine Cone
  • Log Pile

 For a neighbourhood walk:

Try switching out some of the above for these.

  • Bird Feeder
  • Woolly Hat
  • Street Lamp
  • Steam From A Vent
  • Puddle
  • Winter Plant
  • Frosty Window
  • Scarf
  • Smoking Chimney
  • Sale Sign
  • Fairy Lights
  • Hot Drink

In a snowy environment:

Try adding the following to your outdoor scavenger hunt

  • Snowflake
  • Icicle hanging from a branch
  • Snowman
  • Sledge marks
  • Frozen puddle
  • Frozen pond or lake
  • Frozen leaves
  • Frozen spider’s web
  • Snow shovel
  • Snow plough
  • Snow on a car roof
Family of Four Walking Along A Snow-Covered Path In A Forest With The Two Young Children On Either Side.

Family Winter Walk In The Snow

Sensory Scavenger Hunt

Why not create a scavenger hunt for all five senses? Here are some items to consider:

​Sight

The list above gives plenty of examples of things to see on your scavenger hunt.  Choose your favourites to add to this list.

Smell

A few sensory scavenger hunt items to sniff include:

  • Damp soil
  • Pine or evergreen aroma
  • Wet leaves
  • Winter flowers
  • Woodfire burning
  • Baked goods
  • Hot coffee
  • Rainwater

Sound

Stopping and taking the time to listen to all the sounds of the winter world with a few deep breaths can be such a beneficial thing for our wellbeing anyway.  Here’s some ideas of things to listen for in the forest or park:

  • Birds chirping
  • Rustling leaves
  • Crunchy frost
  • Whistling wind
  • Twigs snapping
  • Animals scurrying
  • Rain falling
  • Water trickling
  • Our own footsteps

Touch

​An almost endless array of things could be included to touch, right down to the winter clothes we wear and the feeling of the cold air on your face.  Here’s a few to consider:

  • Tree bark
  • Damp soil
  • Smooth stone
  • Cold park bench
  • Frosty gate
  • Damp / crunchy leaves
  • Jagged pinecone
  • Wet grass
  • Prickly holly
  • Soft feather

Taste

Obviously, this is the trickiest of the senses to explore on your scavenger hunt.  However, you can still build in a seasonal eat if you’re creative.

  • If you know you’ll pass some edible winter berries, that would be perfect.  Obviously caution is needed here to ensure no poisonous berries are consumed.
  • If it’s snowing, try catching the snowflakes with your tongue.  You could do the same with the rain.
  • If you can’t think of anything you’ll find en route to taste, why not simply bring a flask of hot chocolate or hot tea on your walk, and really appreciate the heat of the drink as it warms your body!

Isn’t it great how a simple winter walk scavenger hunt turns an everyday activity into a fun outdoor adventure.  So, why not give it a go? Grab your coat, round up the family, and print out your free printable scavenger hunt list. It could become one of your favourite winter activities – a bit of fresh air and a tick list can be a surprisingly big hit!

MORE LIKE THIS: Outdoors | Winter

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