Animal Crossing: New Horizons takes place on your very own deserted island, and as such, you have to work for some of the things you want. Luckily, the game gives you most of the tools you need right away. However, the shovel is notably absent from the start. Here’s how to get it.
First, you’re going to need a fishing rod or a net. Catch five different bugs and/or fish and give them to Tom Nook at Resident Services; he’ll call up his friend Blathers the museum curator, and Blathers will show up on your the next day. There’s nothing you can do to accelerate this part, so you’ll just have to go to wait.
Once Blathers has set up his tent, go talk to him–he’ll give you the DIY schematics for the shovel. You’ll need hardwood to make it, so take a flimsy axe to some trees to get wood (don’t worry, it won’t chop down the tree). Once you have enough, you can craft a shovel at any DIY bench.
Blathers will also give you a DIY recipe for the vaulting pole, which will help you get across rivers. For more info on his museum, see our museum unlock guide. You can also check our guide to your first day in Animal Crossing: New Horizons for more details on the early unlocks you should get.
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