Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Two days ago when I picked my oldest son up from summer camp, his little brother and I found a small toad in the yard outside the school. We stopped and gawked for quite awhile. As we walked into the building, I turned back to see parents and children coming and going, oblivious to that small magical creature hidden in the grass.

To teach my children one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my adult life – that there is beauty all around us, all you have to do is look – I wanted to put together a nature scavenger hunt.

In order to put the game cards together, we headed out for an early morning walk on a nearby trail. I told my son to find some cool stuff. It was an easy assignment. He found everything from a seed pod shaped like an “S” (a natural letter) to a ladybug and wild berries. I kept my camera clicking. Unfortunately, I wasn’t fast enough to catch the orioles we saw – these were the only ones I’ve ever seen in our neighborhood and they were amazing!

When we got home, I supplemented my own photography with beautiful images from FreeNaturePictures.com, an incredible site with lots of pictures for free download. With the addition of just a few clip art photos, we were ready to make our game cards.

I used Picnik online and Microsoft Publisher. Well, I shouldn’t really say “I." I had some help. My oldest son loved dragging and dropping the images into the collage template and hitting “shuffle.” Some of the things in the hunt are big (such as an owl); other things are small (like a spider). I made four cards, two per page. You can download the PDF file for free here

TIP: Make them reusable!
Print, cut, laminate, and give your child a dry-erase marker to check off which nature discoveries they find. Once you both start looking, I think you’ll be amazed at all the wonderful things you would have missed otherwise!

12 comments:

  1. Great idea! I think I will have to try take our own pictures and make one too. Thanks for getting my wheels spinning!
    Amanda at http://theeducatorsspinonit.blogspot.com/

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  2. What a fun way to take a nature walk. We did that once for our botanical gardens.

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  3. Super idea! Would love if you came to share it up at our Outdoor Play linky!

    http://mamapeapod.blogspot.com/2011/07/outdoor-play-linky-learning-new-skills.html

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  4. wonderful idea thanks for this..
    i love to play this scavenger hunt..

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  5. What a cool idea! We're planning a nature walk later this week, and I'll use this for the kids! :)

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  6. Just popped back to say thanks for coming over to share! Hope to see you again this Friday for the Outdoor Play linky!

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  7. What a GREAT activity and thank you for sharing the downloads. Thanks so much for being part of the Smart Summer Challenge!

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  8. This is a great idea. We love nature walks. Thanks for linking up to the summertime fun party.
    Little Wonders' Days

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  9. This is great. We make a ton of nature scavenger hunts but they don't ever look this good! You did an awesome job.
    Thanks for joining the outdoor play link up. I am featuring this idea this week!

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  10. You are so organised! I wanted to borrow your pdf, but I'll need to make my own... my kids will have a very hard time finding some of your items around here.

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  11. what a fabulous idea - love that you went out & took pics of the wonders around you.

    Thanks for linking up to the Sunday Showcase - hope to see you again this week!

    Bernadette

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