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TU Family Field Trip: Streamside scavenger hunt

A ride down to the local creek, while practicing safe social distancing, kept kids entertained for the better part of a day.
All photos by Josh Duplechian.

Editor’s Note: Students across America are unexpectedly home due to the coronavirus outbreak, and the disease it causes, COVID-19. Trout Unlimited wants to help families make the most of the unexpected time together by providing some fun, educational and social distancing-friendly activities in the outdoors. We will be sharing a collection of activities as part of the TU Family Field Trip series. Our first priority is to keep all of our members and friends safe and healthy, so please consider the following article in light of your current state or local government recommendations for activity. If the time isn’t right for you or your family to engage in this activity, save it as an idea for a future date when things have settled and there is a better sense of what lays ahead.

These days the simple task of going to the grocery store feels a lot like a scavenger hunt. Not the kind I remember as a child.  

Thoughts were racing in my mind the other day when I started to panic about how we were going to keep our small children occupied for an undefined period of time thanks to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. It was then, while looking for flour, I thought of it. An outdoor scavenger hunt should be on our list.  

Scavenger hunts are simple and have been around for generations. It’s one of life’s classic activities. Find something, write it down and move on to the next item. Adults, kids and even crazy bird dogs can easily find entertainment in a scavenger hunt.  

On the hunt for an item on the list.

When I was a kid, scavenger hunts were always a reliable activity to get us out of our parents’ hair. Whether it was looking for specific bugs, birds, colors or nests in trees, there wasn’t much else that would grab our attention quite like a goal of finding items on a list. Of course, this was well before the internet, smart phones and Disney+ on demand.  

In search of …

With bikes, backpacks, binoculars and notebooks packed, we minded or social distance and pedaled down to the local creek the other day to test out the Trout in the Classroom Streamside Scavenger Hunt. The first surprising find of the day was a small mayfly hatch. It sparked conversation about where they come from, what they eat and what may eat them. Following the first successful find we moved on down the list until we had filled out an entire sheet with our discoveries. Perfect.  

Look what I found!

If there’s one thing our family has learned during the recent events with social distancing and self-isolation in the heart of a pandemic is that diversified ways of spending our time is a necessity. Being outside, while safely distancing ourselves from others is something we demand in our family. Our daily routines, like most people across the globe, have been completely rearranged, and while it may be an inconvenience for most,our family has welcomed the opportunity to think outside the box.  

Keeping track.

Here at Trout Unlimited we’d love to hear your ideas or feedback on similar activities. If you happen to get out to this activity, I’d encourage you to tag us on Instagram or Facebook and use the hashtag #streamsidescavengerhunt. We’d love to share what you’ve been up to.