Science Scavenger Hunt

Taking Root
(participating on activities with families)

Age suitability: 3-11 years

Effort required: (1=less work - 5=more work)

Pre-activity: 3
During activity: 3
Post-activity: 1


Invite the children and their families to join in an after-school science hunt. Children explore with their friends and family and take part in a science based exploration of the school to learn about plants, habitats, wildlife as well as develop scientific observational skills. (Can be adapted for other areas of science curriculum depending on the grounds and needs of the school eg: material hunt, minibeast hunt, light etc.)

  • To make close observations
  • To group, classify, identify and name a variety of living things in their local and wider environment.
  • To engage children with families in learning Biology
  1. Choose a date/time and prepare letter to invite the children and their families to attend the event and to know numbers if light refreshments are to be offered (always a good idea!).
  2. Write a list of things the family groups could find whilst on their scavenger hunt around the school, e.g.: ‘Find something rough, something surprising, something that once was alive etc.’ The intention is that they will bring this thing back, so offering a plastic transparent bag (or larger depending on the focus of the activity) per family is helpful.
  3. Identify the areas the families can or can’t go, include a map if appropriate and ensure all safeguarding issues are handled carefully.
  4. An effective activity for this activity is a school scavenger hunt based on colour matching. For a colour scavenge, prepare strips of paint sample strips (available from a local DIY store) alongside sticky back plastic to collect their samples. Can choose different shades of green for a habitat focus but the colour choice also adaptable if wanting the children to focus on something else in their school grounds. Add this to the transparent bag and scavenger questions ready to give to the children.
  5. On the day, gather parents and children together and direct to toilets/communicate fire alarm procedures etc. before giving out scavenger bags and explaining the activity. After 30 minutes to an hour of scavenging, most will be ready for food and to do an informal show and tell about what they have discovered with their families.
  • If offering refreshments, prepare more food than you think they will need.
  • Check the weather and be prepared to delay/ make parents aware they will need a coat if it can’t be adapted for indoors
  • Have a member of staff or older pupil guide parents as to where they could look/ or questions to ask. They benefit from role models when the experience is new to them.
  • Provide question prompts for parents / guide parents before the activity in how they might support their children in modelling scientific approaches to learning.

Developed by Matt Willis and Louise Bousfield, Bradshaw Hall Primary School