Today I want to share a quick, fun, and nature-based activity that is great for days when you need a little extra incentive to go outside, the Recycled Rainbow Match game.

For all the time we spend in the backyard, garden, playing outdoors, going to parks, hiking, and exploring, my kids still sometimes protest going outside.

And I get it, I do. We have fun toys inside, and there are days when an indoor game or project or activity is really captivating. Reading new library books is fun. Sometimes we watch movies or shows. But after too long inside, everyone starts to get cranky and we need a little bit of fresh air and outside time to reset.

The Magic of Nature Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts are a great way to entice kids to go outside (even just for a quick walk around the block), especially when enthusiasm is low.

We’ve done several variations of nature scavenger hunts. It doesn’t take much, a scrap of cardboard, a few markers, and suddenly an outside walk is more exciting, challenging, new, and fun.

Even if we go back inside after a nature scavenger hunt, they still get fresh air, and I get a little nature therapy too.

Recycled Rainbow Match Game

Since my daughter has gotten pretty good with identifying colors, I thought it would be fun to switch up our nature scavenger hunt and make it an interactive game.

I cut a couple of small pieces of cardboard, raided the clothespins from the chip clip bin in the kitchen, and busted out the Mr. Sketch markers.

A few minutes later, we were ready to go with our new Recycled Rainbow Match Game!

My daughter was really into this activity. And using the clothespins to hold flower petals and leaves was good fine motor skill practice too.

I only let her pick flowers and leaves from plants that were very abundant and along the common neighborhood path and park.

We found everything except blue. We did find some bluish succulents, but they were in a neighbors yard so we left them alone.

More Ways to Play

I could see using this simple recycled activity as a rainy day inside scavenger hunt too. You could color a few small strips of cardboard and hide them around the house and have the kids hunt for them.

My daughter even thought mixing up the clothespins and putting them back on the cardboard was fun.

My son told me that he wants to make another version of this activity. He wants a matching game with brown, black, grey, white, and other colors that weren’t represented in our original Recycled Rainbow Match Game.

The kids come up with even better ways to play with the things we create, so they’ll probably find more fun uses for these in the future.

And if you’re into Rainbows, be sure and check out this post full of Rainbow Crafts and Activities!

Halloween Nature Scavenger Hunt

If you’re into this type of activity, I also created a free, fun, printable Halloween Nature Scavenger Hunt. This Fall Activities for Toddlers and Kids post is brimming with other nature-based ideas that can work year round too.

More Cardboard Fun

And if you’re looking for more ways to have fun with cardboard and recycled materials, be sure and check out my post about Amazing Cardboard Box Crafts for Kids. We do a lot of cardboard crafting and it is such a fun, easy, free, and eco-friendly medium.

One of our favorite books for more cardboard craft inspiration is Cardboard Creations: Open Ended Exploration with Recycled Materials. I highly recommend checking it out from your local library. It’s also available through Bookshop.

What Will You Find?

I hope the Recycled Rainbow Match Game will inspire a fun new way to play outside. Even if all you find is a deep breath of fresh air, enjoy!

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