The natural world is abundant in its offerings and gifts this time of year so it’s a great time to head outside for a treasure hunt!
Many of us are familiar with this concept, yet there are SO many different ways to do it.
You will need to adjust yours based on the ages, tendencies and interests of your little ones.
*If they are very little:
-You could simply venture outside and see what wonders appear (a duck at your local park, a clover flower, an ant).
-this is still connecting them with their environment and nature, which is grounding for them and means they’re more likely to care for nature as they get older.
-Perhaps, you could simply read a book about flowers, butterflies, bird nests, acorns, etc. or show them some photos of what you know you’ll likely find. Then go on an adventure together to discover a few of the items.
*Once you find your treasures:
-would your child like to bring them home to proudly display on a nature table or corner?
-make sure you’re allowed to pick the flowers or take home items you find in nature as some parks (State and National), wildlife and nature preserves have a rule against this.
-are there items you could make into a piece of art?
-there are plenty of resources at your local library or online for ideas of crafting with nature
Maybe your children are learning about their senses and you’d like to build on that:
Color, texture, smell….all can be added into your scavenger hunt.
You can use your imagination here or try some of the following:
that fits in your hand
Perhaps you’d like to help them start to identify or further explore specifc items in nature:
piece of bark
sea glass or shells
acorn or other nut
mushroom (growing on the ground or a tree)
Different types of bark (shaggy vs. smooth)
animal or insect home (a hole, ant hill, etc)
animal tracks (or evidence...ex. scat)
If your children appreciate a good competition, you could create cards— bingo board style and whoever gets five in a row wins.
If you are encouraging cooperative efforts, have an ice cream treat, extra story at bed, etc. as the prize for everyone’s efforts once they hit whatever goal you decide upon.
Your older kiddos could even make this into a photo scavenger hunt (if all else fails). ;)
Above all, have fun!
Now go make some memories while connecting with the wonder of nature and each other!