This week our children went on a nature walk to a nearby “forest” that our school district sponsors. It’s a beautiful sanctuary, not far at all from our house.
Because I hadn’t been feeling so well, I decided to send them on a scavenger hunt, with a list of what to take and what to find.
They packed their backpacks with the following items:
- a pencil
- colored pencils
- a spiral notebook to draw and write in
- a ziplock bag
- a magnifying glass
- a small jar with a lid (for collecting bugs)
- whistles (so they could call each other for help if they needed it… it’s a very small “forest”)
It took them over an hour to pack, which told me how very excited they were. 🙂
I gave my digital camera to my 10-year-old daughter, with strict instructions of how to treat the camera. (Whoo, boy… this part made me a little nervous…)
Then I gave them each a sheet of paper with these directions:
On Your Scavenger Hunt:
(Take some pictures of your brothers and sisters, too!)
- Look at 3 different leaves and draw/color them in your notebook.
- Pick 3 different leaves to bring home in your ziplock bag.
- Find a bug to draw. Look at it under the magnifying glass, then draw a picture of it in your notebook. Color it, too.
- Catch a bug to bring home in your jar.
- Choose a rock (no bigger than your hand) to draw/color in your notebook.
- Bring a rock home in your ziplock bag. (no bigger than your hand).
- Find a bird and take a picture of it with the camera. Zoom in close to get a good shot. Use video to record the sounds and movement if you’d like.
- Do you see any larger animals (as big as a cat or larger)? Take a picture or draw a picture in your notebook.
- Do you see any animal tracks? Take a picture AND draw a picture in your notebook.
(Oh, and I let them each pack a little snack in their backpacks, because what’s a nature walk without a snack?)
They set off to the “forest,” and the youngest girl and I headed to bed for a little nap. 🙂
They came home about two hours later. They had picked up several neighborhood friends, taken their shoes off and waded in the creek, ending with a little mud war. They had also found all their scavenger-hunt items and were terribly excited to show them off to me. One friend had brought a butterfly net, so they even caught a couple minnows in the creek. They were sweaty, muddy, and absolutely in love with the leaves, bugs, rocks, and miscellaneous items they had found (including a candy wrapper… “Mom, who would leave such a mess in the forest?”)
The next day, the children ironed their leaves between sheets of wax paper. Then they made notebooking pages of all their discoveries. They looked up lots of information in field guides and on the Internet, which took awhile but was so good for them. (We never could figure out how to display the rocks very well, so the rocks made their way into their pockets, their bedrooms… not sure where… I suppose I’ll find them in the laundry?)
I found the following resources helpful to me this week:
- How to organize a nature walk (simple)
- Nature Walk Ideas and Projects
- How to Make a Wax Paper Leaf Pressing
- Insects on the Web
- eNature Field Guides
It really was easy! I hope you’ll be encouraged to try a nature walk while the weather is still nice…