First, learn some of the clues, signals, and signs that help you know spring is on the way or arrived. Then, go outside on a nature scavenger hunt in search of the first signs of spring with this fun outdoor activity for kids and adults!
Learn the first signs of spring, and get outside in search of the signs that spring is here, with this fun and educational spring scavenger hunt idea for children and adults of all ages. As the cold days of winter begin to give way to warmer temperatures, it’s a great time to get outside and learn about the changing seasons and the common signs that spring has arrived. The first signs of spring usually begin appearing in February, after the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox known as Imbolc, Candlemas, and Groundhog Day.
This means that some signs of spring’s arrival can be noticed as early as mid-February, while most spring signs can be seen everywhere once the equinox arrives in late February. Teach toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, school-aged children, teens, and even adults about the early signs of spring that begin appearing after Imbolc. First published on February 16, 2016, as “Search for the Signs of Spring” this post is regularly updated and republished to improve the content.
Become more aware of the seasonal changes occurring in the natural world with this fun and educational science learning activity. It comes complete with not one but TWO “Signs of Spring” printable scavenger hunts (shown in the photograph below) that you can use to hunt for the clues, signs, and signals that spring is on the way, or has arrived. Or, try this spring scavenger hunt that is best for younger children.
How do You know when it is spring?
People often ask, “How do you tell if it is spring?” or “How do you know that spring is near or here?” The arrival of spring commonly brings a series of noticeable seasonal changes. These early signs of spring are viewed as signals that can alert us to the transition from winter to the warmer months ahead.
Of course, the signs of spring experienced from location to location can vary depending on the region and climate. But several universally recognized signs of spring act as indicators for the beginning of spring around the world no matter where you live. Springtime is a bright, colorful, and magical season of rebirth, renewal, and regrowth across the globe.
Interestingly, when the Northern Hemisphere welcomes the spring, the Southern Hemisphere celebrates the beginning of fall. This means when spring arrives in the Northern Hemisphere, Signs of Autumn appear in the Southern Hemisphere around the time of their Fall Autumnal Equinox. Get outside with the kids to study nature and the changing seasons today with these fun spring activity ideas for kids and adults! For more ideas, look at this list of spring activities complete with a printable bucket list.
Universal Signs of Spring: 14 Common Ways to Know that Spring is Near (or Here)
The signs of spring on the list below symbolize the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Each of these spring signals are universally recognized indicator of renewal, growth, and rebirth within the never-ending cycle of life. As mentioned above, the signs of spring vary depending on the geographical location and can be influenced by the local climate patterns.
In other words, each region might have its unique indicators, but the essence of spring is the same around the world. Below is a list of the first signs of spring. Scroll down to the next sections to learn more details about the solar, environmental, meteorological, and botanical signs of spring and the common animal, bird, amphibian, and insect signals. Following are the most universally common seasonal signals that tell us spring is on the way:
1. Warmer Temperatures and Weather:
- One of the most noticeable signs of spring is the gradual increase in temperatures and generally nicer weather.
- The air becomes milder, and the last of winter’s chill fades away as the shines longer and brighter each day and the temperatures continue to warm.
- As spring draws near and arrives, the chance of frost decreases and dissipates.
2. Budding Plants and New Growth:
- Trees, shrubs, and flowers begin to bud and bloom, adding a fresh burst of color and life back to the natural world.
- Verdant green leaves and colorful flowers pop and poof everywhere.
- Trees begin to show buds, which soon burst into leaves, providing a fresh canopy of green.
- After “bud break” tree buds, new leaves, and flowers paint the gray winter landscape with a vibrant array of greens and colorful blossoms.
- The first spring flowers, such as crocuses, daffodils, and tulips push through the soil and bloom.
- Wildflowers bloom in meadows, fields, woodlands, and forests.
3. Increased Daylight; Brighter, Longer Days, and Shorter Nights:
- As spring approaches, the days get longer, and the nights get shorter with earlier sunrises and later sunsets.
- This gradual increase in daylight is also responsible for the warmer temperatures common in the springtime.
- Many of these changes are due to the Earth’s tilt and orbit around the Sun, which results in more daylight and fewer nighttime hours, especially after the spring vernal equinox.
4. Migrating Birds Returning Home:
- Many bird species migrate to warmer climates for the winter and return to their spring breeding grounds in the springtime.
- The increased bird activity, including the building of nests, the sounds of birds singing, and the presence of migratory species, is a sure sign of spring.
5. Animal Activity:
- Animals that hibernate through winter begin to wake up and become more active as the weather warms and the days grow longer. This includes animals like bears, hedgehogs, and some rodents.
- Additionally, you might notice more wildlife as animals mate and look for food.
- Many animals give birth in the spring, so sightings of fawns, chicks, ducklings, and other young animals are common in the springtime.
6. Increased Rainfall:
- Frequent and sometimes heavy spring rains help to nourish the awakening earth and budding plant life.
- The increase in wet weather at this time of year helps fill streams and rivers, replenish groundwater, and increase soil moisture levels.
- Spring rains are crucial for growing crops, plants, and flowers.
- The increase in rain can also lead to an increase in rainbows when the sun peaks through the clouds. Turn your back to the look to look for rainbows! (Learn more about rainbows in Rainbow Science for Kids.)
7. Melting Snow and Ice:
- Snow and ice thaw and recede as temperatures rise in the springtime, revealing the earth below.
- Like spring rains, snow, and ice melt can help fill streams and rivers.
- As temperatures rise and the ground thaws, the soil warms up and encourages seed germination and root growth.
8. Sounds of Spring:
- Birds singing and other common sounds of spring create a symphony that fills the world with magic and beauty.
- Common spring sounds include the songs of birds, the croaking of frogs, the buzzing of insects, and the sound of lawnmowers everywhere–lol!
9. The Landscape Changes:
- As plants grow, flowers bloom and new leaf buds sprout from trees and bushes, the landscape transforms from winter to spring.
- The barren and dull tones of winter give way to the bright verdant greens and vibrant colors characteristic of the spring, thanks to the new growth of leafy deciduous plants and flowers.
10. Lawn and Garden:
- The start of the gardening season for many plants and vegetables indicates that spring is here.
- Grass turns vibrant green and starts to grow more rapidly, and gardens come to life as the soil warms and is better for plant growth.
- Gardeners everywhere begin to sow seeds and prepare their gardens for the growing season.
- When seeds and starter plants are available at nurseries, garden centers, and even your local market, it is a sure sign that spring has arrived.
11. Outdoor Activities:
- The warmer weather and longer days encourage more outdoor activities.
- People start to spend more time outside, engaging in activities such as walking, hiking, picnicking, and swimming, and enjoy many other outdoor sports and springtime hobbies.
- For many people, the onset of spring is associated with the start of allergy season.
- As plants release pollen into the surrounding air, spring brings seasonal allergies along with a host of allergy symptoms for people with allergies.
- Spring allergy symptoms include sneezing, congestion, and itchy eyes.
13. Daylight Savings Time:
- Another sure sign of spring is when it’s time to change the clocks to daylight saving time.
- When you set the clocks forward, you know it is spring.
14. Spring Vernal Equinox:
- According to the Gregorian calendar, spring’s astronomical beginning is the spring vernal equinox. In other words, spring is officially here once the spring equinox passes!
- The equinox marks the point when day and night are approximately the same length and signals the start of the spring season.
- However, many of the first signs of spring can be spotted after Imbolc (Candlemas, Groundhog Day) in early to mid-February.
- The spring equinox usually occurs between March 20th and 21st in the Northern Hemisphere and between September 21st and 23rd in the Southern Hemisphere.
Go Outside to Search for the First Signs of Spring
Teach your children or nature school students to become aware of the early signs of spring with this fun and educational scavenger hunt idea. My daughter and I like to point out the signs of spring that we see, hear, smell, feel, and sense like it’s a scavenger hunt on our daily walks. In other words, this is not a scavenger hunt that we typically do in a single day. For us, it is a scavenger hunt that begins at the first sign of spring we see in late winter and continues until we begin to spot the first signs of summer.
Signs of Spring Nature Scavenger Hunt for Kids and Adults
Children and adults can become more aware of seasonal changes as they learn to perceive the subtle shifts occurring in the world around them. Going on a scavenger hunt in search of the signs that spring is near or arrived is a fun way to help children and adults strengthen their skills of awareness and grow a deeper connection with the natural world. You might also enjoy this list of outdoor activities.
Visit the Rhythms of Play Learning Center to download and print the Signs of Spring Scavenger Hunt Printable. You will notice that we recently updated the printable to make it even better. The new printable with clues of spring’s arrival is in the photo below. Now you can get both “Signs of Spring” printables for the price of one!
Both nature scavenger hunt printables include a list of some of the common signs of spring in the form of spring-themed clues you can look for on a scavenger hunt and check off the list. For example, seeing new leaf buds on trees is a sure sign that spring is on the way.
First Signs of Spring Scavenger Hunt
This spring activity makes it fun to study nature and the changing seasons. Searching for the signs of the next season’s arrival has become a game my family likes to play as the seasons change. When my daughter was a toddler, I would mention some of the first spring signs on our daily walks. Now that she is older, I ask her what she sees first. Most of the time, I don’t even have to ask. We just start playing I-spy whenever one of us notices an early spring sign.
Today, she squeals with excitement as she points out the first leaf buds and spring blossoms appearing and screams with delight when she hears the geese migrating. She even out-birded me when out on a walk one day. On and on, the list goes. I rarely get the chance to point any of the early signs of spring out to her anymore, because she’s always pointing them out to me as she happily sings, “I spy with my little eye…” Give it a try with the tips and instructions below! You may also enjoy this list of fun and educational shadow activities and experiments for kids.
Play I-Spy When You Spot a Sign of Spring
Think of it like a seasonal game of I-spy, and start paying attention to what you can see, hear, feel, sense, notice, and become aware of happening around you. Start playing I-spy when you spot a sign of spring outdoors (or even from indoors) as a fun way to encourage children and adults of all ages to guess the spring sign you have spotted, instead of pointing it out directly or using the printable below.
For example, if you notice blossoms on cherry trees, give the following I-spy clue. “I spy with my little eye, something that starts with a “B” for blossom or blooms. Or create a color clue by saying, “I spy with my little eye something the color pink.” The final I-spy option is to choose a rhyming word clue. For this example, you can say, “I spy with my little eye, something that rhymes with awesome.”
If you are with older children and want to be more specific for more of a challenge, use “C” for cherry blossom. Or use “A” for almond blossom if it’s an almond tree you see, spot, or spy. Then encourage the children and adults around you to guess the spring sign for the clue provided. The player that answers correctly wins the opportunity to start the next round of I-spy by giving everyone the next spring-themed clue. Our family is even known to play this version of I-spy on road trips to pass the time spring, summer, fall, and winter!
Check off Spring Clues or Write in a Nature Journal or Notebook
Each of our printable spring scavenger hunts makes it easy to check off the clues you find to tell you spring is here while out on a spring scavenger hunt, but you don’t need either of them. Alternatively, you can copy a few of the clues you learn from reading this article about the sure signs of spring into your homemade nature journal.
Or use a nature journal to take note of what you become aware of as a list. Alternatively, you can write in detail about what you see hear, smell, feel, and sense in your nature journal in a similar way that you would write in a diary about each of the signs of spring you become aware of separately or as one detailed entry. (Scroll past these directions to learn several more details that tell us the spring is near or here.)
If you’re feeling up for it, draw a picture to go with your spring entry or several pictures to go with your “Signs of Spring” entries in your nature journal. (We like to use the Laws Guide to Nature Journaling Drawing to help us.) However, the way you create your nature journal entries is always up to you.
Remember, different areas can have other signs of spring based on climate, location, and so much more. Write down the most noteworthy signs that help you know it is spring where you live. We’d love to hear the signs and signals you notice appearing around YOU! Please let us know about any of the signs of spring you become aware of, especially the uncommon spring signals you are lucky enough to experience, in the comments below.
Following are several more details about the signs of spring that expound on the general universal signs of spring mentioned above and written on the printable signs of spring scavenger hunts. For more fun kids activities, look at this list of Outdoor Learning and Nature Activities for Kids.
Sun and Weather: 14 Solar, Environmental, and Meteorological Indications That Spring Is Near
As spring approaches, several meteorological and solar shifts signal the transition from winter to spring’s warmer, livelier season. These weather changes are part of the natural cycle that transitions the earth from the dormancy of winter to the vitality of spring. They affect ecosystems, human activities, and the overall climate of an area, marking one of the most dynamic times of the year in terms of weather. Here are a few notable signs that indicate spring is on the way:
1. Increasing Temperatures:
- One of the most noticeable signs that spring is nearing is the gradual increase in the daily temperature.
- The chill of winter slowly disappears as the days grow warmer and warmer.
2. Higher Sun Angle:
- As the Earth orbits the sun, the sun’s angle in the sky at noon rises above the horizon a little more each day.
- This higher sun angle results in more direct sunlight and warming ground temperatures that melt the snow, ice, and air.
3. More Sunlight:
- An increase in daylight hours due to the changes in Earth’s tilt and orbit leads to longer days and shorter nights.
- The combination of longer days and a higher sun angle means more sunlight reaches the ground.
- This increase in daylight is vital for warming the earth’s surface and stimulating the growth of plants characteristic of springtime.
4. Increased Cloudiness:
- There are often more clouds overhead in the springtime.
- Spring brings more cloud cover due to the increased moisture in the air and the development of storms, especially for those who live near large bodies of water such as a lake or ocean.
5. Changing Patterns of Precipitation:
- As temperatures rise above freezing, snowfall gives way to rain as the primary form of precipitation, nourishing plants and contributing to the greening of the landscape.
- Spring is known for its variability, with rapid weather changes, including sudden rain showers, thunderstorms, and, in some places, late-season snow flurries.
- This rainfall is crucial for replenishing groundwater sources and nurturing budding plant life.
6. Thunderstorms and Lightning:
- The heat and moisture of spring contribute to the development of thunderstorms, a common feature of spring weather.
7. REduced Frost:
- Frost becomes less frequent and eventually stops as nighttime temperatures rise above freezing.
8. Warmer Ground and Soil Temperatures:
- As air temperatures increase, ground and soil temperatures rise, enabling seeds to germinate, roots to grow, and plants to flourish.
9. Early Morning Dew and Fog:
- The contrast between day and nighttime temperatures can result in morning dew and fog, especially in locations near water.
10. Melting Snow and Ice:
- More intense sunlight and increasing temperatures lead to the thawing of frost and ice.
- Frozen water melts, and the ground softens, allowing new life to sprout from the earth.
- Snow and ice melting and thawing contribute to higher water levels in rivers and streams.
11. Changing Wind Patterns:
- In some regions, the approach of spring can be marked by changing wind patterns, shifting from colder winter patterns to milder, warmer winds.
- For example, in some areas, winds shift from northerly to southerly, bringing warmer air from lower latitudes.
- The clash of warm and cold air masses can also lead to stronger and more frequent winds during the spring months.
12. Barometric Pressure Fluctuations:
- The variable weather patterns common in the spring can lead to more noticeable fluctuations in barometric pressure, influencing weather systems.
13. Lengthening Days:
- After the winter solstice, the days grow longer, a trend that continues throughout the spring.
- This increase in daylight hours is due to the Earth’s tilt and orbit around the sun, leading to longer periods of sunlight each day until the summer solstice.
14. Early Sunrise and Later Sunset:
- Along with the lengthening of days, the time of sunrise gets earlier, and sunset occurs later.
- This shift provides more daylight for outdoor activities and affects the daily rhythms of humans and wildlife, signaling seasonal change.
Examples of Sunlight and Weather Signs or Spring Clues to Look for on a spring scavenger Hunt:
- Please note: These are the same weather and sunlight spring-themed clues on our NEW and improved “Signs of Spring” printable scavenger hunt. Feel free to write them into your personal nature journal if you do not want to buy the printables, but please do not copy this list of items to publish or sell, as they are protected under copyright laws, thank you!
- Warmer temperatures.
- Less frost.
- Sun at a higher angle in the sky.
- More sunlight and brighter days.
- Earlier sunrise.
- Later sunset.
- Spring breeze.
- Longer days.
- Shorter nights.
- Ice and snow melt, thaw & disappear.
- Shifting and changing winds.
- Morning dew.
- Fog, clouds, or overcast conditions.
- Spring rain.
- The smell of a spring rainstorm.
- Thunder and lightning.
- A rainbow after a spring shower.
Related: 20 Fun Things to Do on a Rainy Day
Botanical Signs of Spring: Flowers, Shrubs, Trees, Lawn, and other Wild and Garden Plants
Spring’s arrival transforms landscapes, bringing a burst of life and color after the somewhat dull and drab winter days. Like other signs of spring, these signs can vary depending on geographic location and local climate patterns. However, many of the signs and signals of spring in the world of plants below are regarded by many as universal symbols of spring’s rebirth in the natural world. Spending time observing these botanical signs of spring can offer a deeper appreciation of the intricate relationships within the seasonal cycles wherever you are in the world.
Not only do these plant life signals act as indicators of the changing seasons, they also play a vital role in the ecological balance of the natural world. However, they are just one of nature’s many ways of announcing the end of winter and the arrival of spring’s warmer, longer days. They work in conjunction with many of the other signs of spring to support a wide range of wildlife and contribute to the overall health of our environment. Here’s a list of some of these botanical signs and signals of spring:
Shrub and Flower Signs of Spring:
- Early Bloomers: Flowers such as snowdrops (photo below), crocuses, and winter aconites push up through the soil, sometimes even through snow, to bloom early in the spring season.
- Early Spring Bulb Flowers: The first blooms from bulbs planted in the fall appear, providing beautiful splashes of color everywhere. When these spring bulbs, such as daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths, begin to flower, they create vibrant displays in gardens and parks.
- Wildflowers: Native wildflowers bloom in forests, meadows, woodlands, and other natural areas, dotting landscapes and attracting pollinators.
- Budding Shrubs: Plants like forsythia and lilacs show their first buds, which will soon burst into colorful blooms.
- Perennial Growth: Dormant perennials awaken, with early risers like peonies, hostas, and other new shoots pushing through the soil.
- Sequential Blooming: The sequence in which flowers (and other plants in yards, gardens, parks, and nature) bloom can serve as a phenological clock, indicating the progression of spring.
Tree Signs of Spring:
- Sap Flow: In colder climates, sap begins to flow in maple trees, marking the start of the maple syrup season.
- Budding Trees: Trees start showing buds that swell and grow until they eventually open into leaves or flowers.
- Budburst: When the first buds on trees and shrubs burst into leaves and blooming flowers, spring has arrived.
- Flowering Trees: Species such as cherry blossoms, magnolia, dogwood, almond, and crabapple display their beautiful blooms, adding splashes of color to the landscape.
- Leaf Out: Deciduous trees, shrubs, and other plants unfurl their new leaves and start to leaf out, transitioning from bare branches to lush greenery.
- Leaf Size: The growth rate of new leaves can indicate how far into the spring season the environment is.
Ground Cover Signs of Spring:
- Greening Grass: Lawns and fields turn from brown to green as grass grows again with the warmer weather.
- Moss and Lichen: These become more vibrant in color and are more noticeable on trees, rocks, and soil, benefiting from the moist conditions of spring.
Garden Plants: Signs of Spring in the Yard and Garden
The signs of spring in the yard and garden not only mark the change of seasons but also signal the time for gardeners to start their annual routines of planting, maintenance, and enjoying the outdoors at home.
- Increased Activity: Gardens and landscapes become hubs of activity, with birds, insects, and animals more visibly active. (copy from below)
- Soil Warmth: The soil begins to warm, allowing for the sowing of seeds for cool-season vegetables and flowers.
- Garden Prep: Gardeners start tilling the soil, adding compost, and preparing beds for planting.
- Vegetable Seedlings: Early vegetables like lettuce, spinach, and peas can be planted, and cool-season crops start to grow.
- Herb Sprouting: Perennial herbs such as rosemary, sage, chives, mint, and thyme re-emerge, ready for another season of growth and culinary use.
Examples of Plant Life (Lawn, Plant, Flower, Garden, and Tree) Signs of Spring to Look for on a Scavenger Hunt:
- Please note: These are the same plant life spring-themed clues on our NEW and improved “Signs of Spring” printable scavenger hunt. Feel free to write them into your personal nature journal if you do not want to buy the printables, but please do not copy this list of items to publish or sell, as they are protected under copyright laws, thank you!
- Wildflowers blooming in fields & forests.
- Sap flowing; maple syrup season begins.
- A bright green meadow.
- Dandelion or another weed.
- Fresh grass or clover.
- Moss or lichen on a tree or boulder.
- Leaf or flower buds on a tree limb.
- Flower buds burst open.
- The smell of fresh-cut grass.
- Spring colors are popping everywhere.
- Flowering tree or bush in bloom.
- Tree(s) leafing out (leaf buds unfurling).
- Perennials coming back to life.
- The smell of fresh flowers.
- Herbs sprouting new growth.
- Early spring flowers:
- Snowdrop, Daffodil, Iris, Crocus, etc.
Related: How to Plant Flowers
Wildlife Signs of Spring: Animal, Bird, Waterfowl, Amphibian, and Insect Indicators That Spring is Here
The arrival of spring brings about noticeable changes in the behavior and presence of various wildlife, serving as natural indicators of the changing season. For example, earthworms make their way from the once cold and dormant earth. The signs of spring on the lists below highlight several of these seasonal changes in different forms of animal wildlife, including birds, waterfowl, insects, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and insects. Without further ado, here are a few common animal signs that spring is here or on the way:
Animal (Mammal) Signs of Spring:
- Increased Animal Activity: Mammals that hibernate through the winter, such as bears hedgehogs, and some rodents, come out of their dens in search of food after their long winter rest. Their increased activity is a sign that warmer weather is on the way.
- Lambs and Other Young Animals: In rural and farming areas, the birth of lambs, calves, horses, and other young animals after Imbolc is a sure sign of spring. In the wild, many species, such as deer, time the birth of their offspring to coincide with the abundance of spring because it makes survival more likely. So you may get lucky and see a fawn in the springtime.
- Pets and Other Animals Shed or Change Color of Winter Coat: Some house pets and other wildlife animals with fur shed and lose their winter coat, while a few others, such as the Arctic Hare and Arctic Fox, change the color of their coats entirely. For example, the Arctic Hare’s coat changes from white to brown or grey in the spring.
Bird Signs of Spring:
- Bird Migration and Return: The return of migratory birds is one of the first signs of spring. Many bird species migrate back to their breeding grounds in the spring, filling the air with their songs and calls.
- Birdsong at Dawn: An early dawn chorus of birdsong, primarily consisting of male birds singing to attract mates and establish territories, becomes a prominent and beautiful part of the morning soundscape.
- Increased Birdsong: The increased presence of birds and their singing is a primary indicator that spring has arrived. Some of the most noteworthy examples include the spring melodies of robins and swallows.
- All Bird Sounds Increase: Not only are early mornings filled with birds singing as male birds use songs to attract mates, but birds fill the air with bird sounds and calls of many other varieties as well. They use different bird calls to attract mates, and other bird sounds to defend their territories from unwanted intruders. And let’s not forget one of the most popular bird sounds of all, the rat-tat-tat-tat knocking of the woodpecker!
- Birds Building Nests: Birds start building nests and laying eggs, a sign of the beginning of new life. You might notice birds carrying twigs for nest-building, or hear the distinct calls and songs of birds as they attract mates.
- Nesting and Breeding Activities: Birds, squirrels, and other animals start their nesting and breeding activities. (If you are lucky enough to spot any eggs, chicks, or other animal babies, please do not touch or disturb them, or the mother might abandon them.)
- Waterfowl: Ducks and geese return to open waters to mate, nest, and raise their young, while swans and other migratory waterfowl can be seen stopping at lakes and wetlands as they travel north to their breeding sites and summer homes.
Insects and Other Invertebrate Signs of Spring:
- Insect Emergence: The warmer temperatures of spring coax many insects out of their winter dormancy.
- Bees and Butterflies: Bees and butterflies become more visible, pollinating flowers and adding to the spring ambiance. Once these invertebrates emerge, you can see them searching for nectar from the first spring flowers.
- Ladybugs and Other Beetles: Start to appear, feeding on aphids and other small insects.
- Ants: Become more active, especially on warm days, as they rebuild and expand their colonies.
- Mosquitos: These insects become active in the spring, and can be spotted buzzing around everywhere, especially around standing bodies of water. Remove standing water from your yard and garden to keep these annoying pests at bay.
Amphibian Signs of Spring:
- Frog Chorus: As temperatures rise, frogs and toads come out of hibernation. As they emerge from hibernation, their collective croaking, especially in the evening, signals the arrival of spring.
- Migrating Amphibians: Some amphibians, such as frogs and toads, migrate to ponds and other bodies of water to lay eggs. Their croaking and calls can often be heard on wet evenings.
- Salamanders: These creatures also begin migrating to breeding sites, often on rainy nights.
- Amphibian Egg Laying: Frogs and toads lay eggs in ponds and wetlands, which can be seen as clusters or strings of jelly-like eggs in the water. Throughout the spring these amphibians can be seen progressing through the stages of the life cycle from a tadpole to a full-grown frog or toad.
Reptile Signs of Spring:
- Reptile Awakening: Cold-blooded animals like snakes and lizards, who are less active or in brumation (a reptilian form of hibernation) during the cold months, become more active as temperatures rise.
Fish and Aquatic Animal Signs of Spring:
- Return of Aquatic Animals: Species that migrated to warmer waters return. This includes certain fish species in rivers and lakes.
- Salmon run to return to their original breeding grounds to mate and lay eggs.
- In some coastal areas, sea turtles return to lay eggs.
Examples of Animal Signs of Spring to Look for on a Scavenger Hunt:
- Please note: These are the same animal activity spring-themed clues on our NEW and improved “Signs of Spring” printable scavenger hunt. Feel free to write them into your personal nature journal if you do not want to buy the printables, but please do not copy this list of items to publish or sell, as they are protected under copyright laws, thank you!
- Birds migrating north.
- Animal shedding or changing color.
- Songbird singing a spring melody.
- A woodpecker knocking.
- Waterfowl stop at lakes and wetlands.
- Earthworm in a puddle.
- Caterpillar gnawing on green leaves.
- Sound of a croaking frog or toad.
- Butterfly drinking nectar.
- A ladybug on you or a plant.
- Bee on a flower or sound of bees buzzing.
- Sight or sound of mosquitos buzzing.
- An animal that hibernates awake.
- Migratory birds back in breeding grounds.
- Birds building nests or nesting.
- Morning birdsong.
- Ants marching.
- Baby bird or animal: chick, fawn, lamb.
- Salmon running (swimming upstream).
Other Random Signs of Spring
As we transition from the chill of late winter to the mild embrace of spring, there are subtle yet unmistakable clues that herald the arrival of this vibrant season, beyond the blossoming plant life, bustling animal activity, and the shifts in weather and sunlight. There are several other random spring clues you might notice as you go about your daily activities in the late winter. Like the other spring-themed clues they help us know when it’s spring. Together, these clues weave a tapestry of signs that tell us spring is upon us, and invite us to engage with the world awakening everywhere around us.
Examples of Random Signs of Spring to Look for on a scavenger hunt:
- Please note: These are the same random spring-themed clues on our NEW and improved “Signs of Spring” printable scavenger hunt. Feel free to write them into your personal nature journal if you do not want to buy the printables, but please do not copy this list of items to publish or sell, as they are protected under copyright laws, thank you!
- More people outdoors.
- Spring or Easter decor.
- Stores selling starters and seeds.
- People dressed in less clothing.
- Garden catalogs are in the mail.
- Neighbors working in their yards.
- The sounds of lawnmowers.
- Daylight savings time begins (if in effect)
- Spring Equinox.
- People playing baseball or soccer.
- Smell of a BBQ.
- Allergy season begins.
Spring Nature Scavenger Hunt for Kids
Searching for signs of Spring is a fun and educational activity to do with kids. We hope you enjoy reading about and learning the signs of spring to look, listen, feel, smell, and sense; in the world around you. You might also enjoy this list of rainy-day activities for kids.
For both children and adults, becoming aware of seasonal changes in wildlife behavior and the environment can provide a deep sense of connection to the natural world. So tell us. What signs of spring have YOU noticed? Share your favorite signs of spring in the comments below!
Learn more about Rhythms of Play–> HERE.
More Seasonal Nature Scavenger Hunt Ideas
- Summer Scavenger Hunt Printable for Toddlers
- Signs of Summer Nature Scavenger Hunt
- Fall Scavenger Hunt Printable for Toddlers
- Search for the Signs of Autumn Nature Scavenger Hunt
- Winter Scavenger Hunt for Toddlers
- Signs of Winter Nature Scavenger Hunt
More Spring Activities for Kids
- Spring Bucket List of Fun Activities for Kids
- Imbolc Traditions and Celebration Ideas
- Ways to Celebrate the Spring Solstice
- Planting Spring Flowers
- Flower Arranging Activity for Kids
- Spring Nature Table
- Spring Books for Kids
- Growing Sunflowers with Children
- Giant List of Outdoor Learning and Nature Activities for Kids