Invite children on a nature scavenger hunt to look for the first signs of summer with this summer scavenger hunt idea!
Get outside to search for the first signs of summer with this fun and educational nature scavenger hunt idea for kids and adults. If you look closely, you will notice that the first signs of summer begin to appear in the late spring. This makes after May Day or Beltane, on May 1, a great time of year to get outside to look for the first signs that summer is on its way. According to the Gregorian calendar, summer won’t officially arrive until the summer solstice on June 20th–but you can find the subtle clues that summer is not far away if you pay attention. Some clues that summer is on the way are hard to miss, while other signs require a keen eye.
This post is a part of the Get Outside & Connect Series.
First Signs of Summer Scavenger Hunt
It’s fun to head outside in search of the first signs of summer. Learning to pay attention to the subtle shifts in nature and our surrounding area is an outside activity for kids and adults. Teaching children how to become mindful of the seasonal changes that occur just before and during the summer is a great educational activity for kids from toddlers to teens. Children really get into pointing out the signs of summer that they see once they learn what to look for.
A few of the first signs of summer can be harder to notice than the signs of spring. It’s a lot easier to point out that the snow is melting and new shoots are appearing than some of the more subtle signs of summer. As you begin to pay attention to the signs of each season, you will notice the seasonal shifts that happen in your area throughout the year. Record your observations and experiences in your nature journals to learn more about your neck of the woods!
Please pop over to our learning center to download and print the Signs of Summer Scavenger Hunt Printable or copy any of our lists of signs to look for into your homemade nature journal. We recommend that you invite children outside on a nature scavenger hunt to look for the first signs of each season, all four seasons of the year, with the Nature Scavenger Hunt Printable Library. It includes a nature scavenger hunt for summer, fall, winter, and spring!
A Few Signs of Summer to Look for:
Some first signs of summer will be slightly different depending on where you live, while others are universal. Once May has arrived, begin to pay attention to your surroundings and search for the signs that summer is on the way. Here are a few signs of summer to look for:
- A bee visiting a flower.
- A butterfly on a flower cluster.
- Leaves bigger than your hand.
- The sound of crickets chirping.
- A spider sitting in its web.
- Plants, other than trees, that are taller than you.
- Baby animals.
- The smell of blooming flowers.
- People spending more time outdoors than indoors.
- Sunbathers at pools and shores.
- Birds flying back to their primary habitats.
- Monsoons or tropical cyclones.
- Faster growing plants and grass.
- Dragonflies and Mosquitos buzzing about.
- Milkweed in bloom.
There are so many more signs that one can look for to prove that summer has arrived. The list above is the first “Signs of Summer Scavenger Hunt” that we created in 2015. It shares a few of the “signs of summer” to look for, but nowhere near all.
We updated our “signs of summer” scavenger hunt in 2021 to look similar to how we have updated each of our other seasonal scavenger hunts. The lists below are the same as those you will find written on our NEW Signs of Summer Scavenger Hunt Printable. Please have a look at our updated lists of summer signs below!
“Signs of Summer” Nature Scavenger Hunt Printable
Update May 1, 2021: Here are the signs of summer to look for on our NEW Summer Nature Scavenger Hunt Printable for kids and adults. Invite children outside in your neighborhood or the great outdoors with this printable nature scavenger hunt idea for kids!
Weather and the Sun Changes to Look for:
- The sun is higher in the sky.
- Sunlight is brighter and more direct.
- Each day grows longer and longer until the day of the summer solstice.
- After the solstice, the days become shorter and shorter until the equinox.
- Monsoons and tropical cyclones are reported in areas where they occur.
- Heat haze, shimmer, or mirage magically appears on a hot horizon.
Garden and Plant First Signs of Summer
- Deciduous trees have regrown a full crown of leaves.
- Plants & grass grow really fast.
- The smell & color of flowers in bloom is everywhere.
- Lawnmowers are heard more often.
- The garden is blooming and beginning to bear fruit (and vegetables, too!)
- Some leaves are bigger than your hand.
- Plants other than trees are growing taller than you.
- Sunflowers grow tall and bloom.
- Berries ripening on the vine.
Signs of Animals, Birds and Insects Welcoming Summer
- Pets and other animals shed their winter coats.
- Animals that hibernate for the winter have made their full return from slumber. (Bears, hedgehogs, etc.)
- Birds are seen completing their migration and in their primary habitats (geese, swallows, hawks, cranes, etc.)
- Invertebrates such as butterflies and ladybugs are flitting about everywhere.
- Dragonflies and mosquitos are seen and heard buzzing around.
- Crickets are heard chirping.
- Baby animals explore their world.
Other Random Signs of Summer to Look for
- People are seen outdoors more often.
- As the heat goes up, people wear fewer and fewer layers of clothing.
- People are out sunbathing.
- The smell of BBQ.
- People out enjoying pools, lakes, oceans, and shores.
- The hum of air conditioners.
- People out enjoying picnics.
- The sound of children playing outside.
First Signs of Summer Scavenger Hunt for Kids
Know of any other first signs of summer that we missed? Please add them in the comments below. Also, feel free to comment on any of the signs of summer that you and your children find. We’d love to hear all about the mysteries that you discover.
Searching for signs of summer is a fun and educational science activity to do with kids. Even though the summer solstice is still a few weeks away, the first signs of summer are starting to show up all around us. I’m sure you are beginning to see many more signs that the summer is near than we have listed here.
So tell us… what are the first signs of summer that have you noticed appearing around you? Let us know in the comments below!
Learn more HERE about–>Rhythms of Play
More Seasonal Nature Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids
Invite children outside on a nature scavenger hunt to search for the first signs of each season, all four seasons of the year, with the Nature Scavenger Hunt Printable Library. It includes a nature scavenger hunt for summer, fall, winter, and spring!