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Nature detective

Love the outdoors and discover local wildlife as a nature detective.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Pens or pencils
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Viewing jars (optional)
  • Magnifying glasses (optional)
Seaside detective
PDF – 338.2KB
Countryside detective
PDF – 317.4KB
Urban detective
PDF – 294.5KB

This activity can be completed over a series of walks or outings depending on seasons and where wildlife lives.

Before you begin

  • Find out the best places to spot wildlife in your local area.
  • Invite parents or carers, adult helpers or Young Leaders to join your visit.
  • Make sure everyone brings the right clothing, such as sturdy shoes or wellies.
  • Print out the relevant detective sheets and take any wildlife-spotting kit.

Be nature detectives

On a walk or outing in the local area:

  1. Head out to a local wildlife space where everyone can see different animals, insects, fish or birds. The person leading the activity should take the relevant detective sheets to learn more about what the group will see.
  1. Everyone should look around for the kinds of food animals or insects might eat and the places they might live.


This activity helps everyone focus on local wildlife and to find out more about habitats and diets. Everyone should chat about what they saw and what they learned. What were the highlights? Talk about how it’s important to care for habitats so wildlife can thrive undisturbed. What can everyone do to help? Suggestions might include planting more bee and butterfly-friendly flowers, not dropping litter and leaving outdoor areas undisturbed.


Outdoor activities

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.

Animals and insects

Be aware of the risks before interacting with animals. Be aware of anyone with allergies, and make alternative arrangements for them.

Gardening and nature

Everyone must wash their hands after the activity has finished. Wear gloves if needed. Explain how to safely use equipment and set clear boundaries so everyone knows what’s allowed.

Near water

Manage groups carefully when near water. The guidance on activities near water will help you to keep your group safe.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.