Our Nature Detectives weekly programs last an hour and the time goes by fast! We always have so much to discover! We may be using our magnifying glasses to search for insects on the ground, in a tree, on a plant. Or we will measure distances with a tape measure. What is the circumference of the tree and how does it relate to the length of his or her arm?
One favorite activity is to explore wild areas in the school playground. It can be the school garden, looking at all the plants, studying the leaves, finding a butterfly passing by, or seeing a spider weaving its web. Or they might explore a bush big enough to hide in or become their tunnel in the jungle. Nature Detectives climb inside and move sticky branches and leaves out of their way.
Nature Detectives LOVE scavenger hunts. Download Scavenger Hunt sheets from the Activity Guide page. Or send your children on a mission presenting your own ideas. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: find 3 triangles, a hole in the ground, a bird nest, something that does not belong, something wet, winged insect, fallen leaves, spider webs, ladybugs, worms or a bird signing. Give them 30 minutes before everyone returns to start to compares notes about what they found and what they missed.
Here is another Nature Detectives challenge. Go to a park or other place you visit regularly. Challenge your child(ren) to find 10 things they never saw before, Make a list.in their Field Journals and draw as many items as they can. Depending on their abilities, ask them to create a sentence describing what they found. Be their enthusiastic study partner when they are too young to be walking alone. Field Journals are the foundation of our weekly programs to record observations, thoughts, evidence, drawings and anything else they want to capture
When Nature Detectives are busy looking around, I ask them about what they have found. This invites them to think more closely than seeing it putting it down and moving on down the list.
- Make comparisons: Is it as a long as their finger?
- Look (or touch) closely: It is wet or dry?
- Listen carefully: Does it make a sound?
- Describe it: Does it have legs, wings or just a slimy body?
- Count: How many?
For more ideas: Visit National Wildlife Federation (NWF) website and search for the Green Hour – an assortment of fun activities you can do in one hour of unstructured play in the natural world.