In this post we talk about getting outside and exploring with your children. We look at a book to inspire you and then I give you a free printable to take on a nature inspired scavenger hunt!
Most kids love to be outside, at least that is what I have seen. Give a child a sunny day and temps above 50 and you will be hard pressed to get them in for lunch. It can be so tempting to just let them go, and you should, but not all the time. My kiddos will seek me out and invite me to come see the fort they have built or the bug they have found. So, I try to plan little outside activities with them. A picnic is always a favorite, but a real crowd pleaser is a scavenger hunt!
So, my purpose for activities like this is two fold. First, I want my children to enjoy God’s creation, and appreciate every aspect of it. I want their eyes to be trained to really see things, to look closely. The second reason is to hold my husband and myself accountable to do fun things! We can get so bogged down with the work of a farm and a home and all the various other adult responsibilities that we can forget to have fun! Especially when we are home. We get truckin’ on the to-do list and forget to enjoy all that we are working for!
Grab a book for inspiration
If you have read many of my posts, you know we are a reading family. We love books and take a literature based approach to learning. If you need some book recommendations check out this post. I love Five in a Row for my children 9 years old and under. If you are not familiar with Five in a Row, you read the same picture book every day for a week. Each day different lessons are drawn from the story. Geography, History, Science, Language and Fine arts. It is such a sweet way to learn with your children. You can check it out here.
This week’s book was The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer. It is a simple and sweet story of a boy who finds a Salamander and wants to bring him home to live in his room. The mother gently reminds him of everything the Salamander will need. The boy in return has a creative answer for how he will meet every need. The story is not complex in any way, but the art work is very inspiring. It really makes you want to learn more about nature. It is a great way to introduce the different species of animals as well.
A hands on approach to learning is so valuable for children to remember what they have learned. With Five in a Row, you will typically have an art lesson or some other hands on activity. We love to do those, but this week we planned an outside activity, a scavenger hunt.
The Scavenger Hunt
My kids love a good scavenger hunt. When my older ones were little I used to make fun little hunts all around the house with a special treat at the end. They still remember those times fondly. I have to be diligent to make sure I am also making fun special memories with my little ones now as well! We go on nature walks and take our journals with us to draw flowers or insects that we find on the way. So, I thought it would be fun to make a little nature-inspired scavenger hunt to go along with this week’s book.
Since it is early Spring here in the Midwest. I made the list of things that would be easy to find right now. The whole family went on this hunt, and we had so much fun! We saw things that weren’t on the list…like snakes! We couldn’t find any tadpoles, but we did find a frog!
Bring a Camera
I don’t love carrying back all of the treasures we find. Making cute little houses for insects and worms to live in sounds fun, but seems unfair. I feel sorry for the poor little creature being taken from it’s happy home to most likely die in a plastic yogurt container. Leaves and rocks are fine to bring back to the house. I let them grab one or two of those, and of course we love to make wildflower bouquets and necklaces.
If you visit State Parks, you know they advise you to look, but not take. This is good practice for that. Instead of bringing everything back, my kids are delighted with taking a picture of the specimens. Then you can go back and look at the pictures and identify the types of leaves and insects with a field guide. From time to time we will print the pictures and add them to our nature journal.
Free Printable Nature Scavenger Hunt Sheet
Thanks for stopping by!
Please remember, you don’t have to live in the country to do this hunt! Many of the things we found were right here in our yard. However, it would be fun to take the list and head to a nature park as well!
I hope you enjoyed the nature hunt and leave inspired to enjoy some outside time with your kiddos! Maybe you don’t need the nudge and you are already purposeful with your time! If so, good job and feel free to share how you make that happen in the comments!