Started homeschool yet?
It’s that time of year! The back-to-school sales are in full-swing and we homeschoolers are stocking up on school supplies and organizing our books and making final plans. I never cease to be amazed that, no matter how brain-strained and school-weary I am at the end of one school year, summer has a way of slowly making me anxious for the next year to begin. I call it the Ready-to-Get-Back-to-Homeschooling Phenomenon.
I really believe the first day of school can go a long way toward setting the tone for the entire school year. That’s why I try so hard to make it a fun, relaxed homeschool day. As I’ve said before, I try to begin and end each school year with a field trip. It’s just been a great way for our family to ease back into school. It’s one homeschooling tradition I aim to continue.
We never spend a lot of money on our field trips to begin with, but we have a family trip coming up soon, one that might as well be a week-long field trip, so I wanted to be especially conservative. A day at our favorite park is both FREE and FUN for our First Day of Homeschool Field Trip. And adding a SCAVENGER HUNT to the day’s activities makes it all the better!
If a field trip is in your plans for your first day of school, (or at any point throughout the school year!) maybe you should consider adding to the fun with a scavenger hunt. There are scores of ready-made hunts to coincide with almost any field trip you can imagine.
There’s no way I can possibly link to all of them here, but I can certainly share a few of my favorites! Check them out and print off the one that works best for you and your family.
And, remember, all of these printables are FREE!
For a trip to the park, nature reserve, or arboretum:
I love this Hiking Scavenger Hunt Printable from Make and Takes. It includes pictures for kids who may not be reading well yet and can be printed in black and white or color.
Montessori Nature offers this Nature Scavenger Hunt, which also includes pictures. It’s a shorter hunt, perfect for little ones!
With 100 items to look for, this Ultimate Nature Scavenger Hunt is great for kids of all ages. The objects are simple, but there are a lot of them, which adds to the challenge!
But I especially love the Botany Scavenger Hunt from Ellen McHenry’s Basement Workshop. It focuses on leaves, stems, and other plant structures. This hunt could be perfect for middle and high schoolers who might need something a little more in-depth.
For a trip to the zoo:
Here’s a basic Zoo Scavenger Hunt for smaller children, complete with animal pictures from I Can Teach My Child.
And this Animals of the Alphabet hunt from Blue Skies Ahead takes a different approach, asking kids to find one animal whose name begins with each letter of the alphabet.
This Zoo Scavenger Hunt Game from Moms and Munchkins prompts kids to look not just for particular animals, but for certain animal behaviors and characteristics. (Plus one zoo worker!)
*Keep in mind, too, that many zoos offer printable educational worksheets and scavenger hunts on their websites, many of them created to coincide perfectly with their particular layout or with their own unique exhibits. Many of these are even designed to be age/grade appropriate, so before you head off to your local zoo, be sure to check out their online resources.
For a trip to the farm:
A trip to the farm is always one of our favorite field trips! These tend to be for much younger children though, as with zoos, check the websites of large commercial farms for available printables.
Blue Skies Ahead offers an adorable Farm Fun scavenger hunt for toddlers.
This simple Farm Scavenger Hunt is available from Scholastic as part of an entire lesson plan on farms.
For the local library:
If it’s a rainy day, a scavenger hunt at the local library might be a better option.
Check out the American Library Association for a list of Scavenger Hunts and a Library Treasure Hunt for kids of various ages.
This Library Scavenger Hunt from My Kids’ Adventures is a great way to help your kids learn their way around their library.
A simple Library Scavenger Hunt from Layers of Learning includes pictures for smaller ones and challenges kids to search for both items and certain types of books.
This scavenger hunt, part of What Do We Do All Day? and No Twiddle Twaddle‘s Great Summer Library Challenge also looks like a lot of fun.
For around the house and yard:
Can’t venture far from home on your first day of homeschool? No problem!
Try this Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt from The Taylor House right in your own yard.
And though this one from Today’s Mama is called an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt, it could just as easily be called an “Around the House” scavenger hunt!
This lovely color Backyard Scavenger Hunt from About Parenting involves many senses, requiring kids to search out smells, sounds, and textures as well as things they see.