Nature hunts and colour matching activities

Nature hunts are a great way to engage children to engage in the natural world around them, as well as exploring different textures, colours, shapes and patterns.

Below you can find lots of different nature hunt ideas that you can try out and about on walks or around a garden or park.


We hate to waste anything and recycling and reusing materials is one of many small things we can all do to help the environment. So instead of chucking used cardboard boxes we like to find ways to use them in crafts and activities.

A piece of recycled cardboard makes a great base for a threading and weaving nature hunt board. All you need to do is ask the children to draw or paint simple pictures, shapes or faces onto some cardboard. (Or you could do it for them if they are too little). Then carefully poke a pencil through the cardboard at different points to make holes for the children to poke, thread and weave found natural materials through.


You could use leaves, long grass, plant stems, bark, fallen fruit, nuts, seeds and flowers*. *Pretty please don’t pick any wild flowers, only collect ones you have grown yourself or fallen ones you find on the floor.

We drew a simple flower pot and used flowers from the garden and plant stems to weave poke through and fill and decorate our flower pot with.


We also had fun drawing faces and reusing the flowers and stems to decorate and make their hair with. This is a great activity for developing fine motor skills and stimulating creativity.


Colour matching nature hunts are also good fun. The children can draw or paint circles or patches of colour onto a sheet of paper or card.  Then they can then match nature finds to the colours on the sheet. You could use glue, paperclips or strips of double sided on the sheet for them to stick the nature finds onto.


Alternatively you could cut a shape out of recycled cardboard (like a heart or butterfly) to stick your finds too again using tape or glue. You could even paint or colour in your shape before you go to collect your nature finds. We made ours rainbow coloured and then found matching coloured natural items to complete the rainbow.


Its a great way to stimulate conversation and encourage children to think about the colours they find. Can you get a whole rainbow? What colour did you struggle the most to find? Which colour was the easiest to find? Which colour do you like the most?


It’s also a good opportunity to talk about why things are all different colours. For example flowers are brightly coloured to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, grass and leaves are green because of the chlorophyll in the cells which is busy turning sunlight into food.


Another idea is to paint or draw different patches of colour onto the bottom compartments of an egg box. The children can then collect as many natural objects as they can find to match to the colours of the patches.


For older children you could also write a list of additional things to find on the inside of the lid. Like something soft, something spiky, something smooth, something curly, something round. It’s a good way to introduce children to new words and concepts.


Or you could make a heart shaped peg board for a colour nature hunt. All you need again is a piece of cardboard cut into a simple shape and some pegs. Simply paint or draw patches of different colours into your board. Then you can glue a peg to each patch of colour so you can attach your finds to the board.


If you don’t have pegs or tape you could use elastic bands instead to attach your finds to a simple cardboard shape board. You can make these boards as small or as big as you like and children of all ages will enjoy playing with them. (Just beware of the choking hazard that elastic bands, pegs and other materials might pose to smaller children)


One of our favourite games to play in the garden is a simple chalk matching colour game. All you need is chalk or paint to mark out coloured patches on the floor. We draw ours as a rainbow as we think it looks quite pretty.


You then collect as many natural objects as you can find to match to the colours of your patches. We used leaves, stones, grass, bark, fallen fruit and flowers. *Pretty please don’t pick any wild flowers, only collect ones you have grown yourself or fallen ones you find on the floor.


Again its a great opportunity to talk about the materials you have found. Can you get a whole rainbow? What colour did you struggle the most to find? Which colour was the easiest to find? Which colour do you like the most?


Or how about creating your own nature hunt cards that challenge you to find objects of different colours, textures, shapes and sizes. There are brilliant for stimulating conversation and introducing children to new concepts and words. You can find out how to make your own Nature hunt word game here.


If you like this you might like to try:

Tataki zome – Flower pounding and leaf bashing


Flower and leaf crowns


Exploring trees and woods – Activity and ideas




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