Summer is the perfect time for outdoor adventure and now that kids are on their summer break, you may find yourself wondering what other activities you can do to keep them busy and learning. Consider a nature scavenger hunt using recycled paper egg cartons as their treasure chest. It’s a fun way to discover items in the garden, the woods, or by the lake and head home to learn about them after foraging. Plus, you can upcycle a recycled paper egg carton to place the items in while teaching kids about reducing waste and purchasing items in paper over plastic. This fun activity has endless possibilities. Read on for how to get started.

Start by collecting egg cartons after they have been used. Have the kids decorate their egg carton with markers or paint, making it their own “nature’s treasure chest”. Once decorated, head outside and start collecting items in your yard or on a walk through nature – pick up anything in nature that is interesting without harming the natural environment. Look for colourful flowers or leaves, stones and rocks, pinecones, different types of grasses, or whatever catches your eye! Once all 12 cups of your egg carton are filled, carry the carton home to start researching what you find. Using google search or the search lens (Google lens) on your Smartphone, look up what each item is and discuss what you’re learning with your kids.

Some questions to consider when researching what you have found are:

Where does this typically grow?

What are the benefits of this in nature?

Do animals eat this plant?

How does this plant or flower get its bright colour?

How are these plants protected in nature?

Does a local conservation organization protect these?

Once they have the hang of the scavenger hunt and have learned something new, head back out to a new spot to find more! Not sure what else to look for? Base your search around a theme – a colour, a shape, or a type of plant. Make each new search unique. The scavenger hunt is beneficial in that it will have your kids admiring their surroundings and learning to appreciate the outdoors.

Aside from teaching them about the outdoors, by using a paper egg carton, you can discuss the importance of choosing food in recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable paper packaging over single-use plastic and foam. By choosing eggs and other food in recycled paper, we reduce single-use plastic and polystyrene foam that goes to the landfill and into our waterways and oceans. Each year, 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans and are swept out into plastic islands. There are 3.6 billion egg cartons produced annually and half of them are still plastic or polystyrene foam.

Are you ready to upcycle your paper egg cartons into a nature’s treasure chest with your kids? Start getting crafty and head to the great outdoors to start your scavenger hunt this summer.

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