A nature hunt in your backyard
So many wonderful summer, childhood memories can be created right in our backyard. Literally. Though I've lived in multiple locations, I can vividly remember the natural details within the backyards of our homes. One had a grape arbor, one a favorite cement patch and views of cows at pasture, and another the sweet smell of lilacs. A returning summer goal of mine is for my children to spend more time outside, in our yard. I want them to run/jump/climb and to use their broad imaginations to create, and to learn about the natural classroom we have right outside our door.
So, I decided to make a game of it. A scavenger hunt! With three children, ages 5, 8, and 10, I wanted varying levels of difficulty so I decided to make a printable that they could all use.
Here's how it works:
- The 5-year old gets to take me on the journey as he finds and identifies each of the items.
- The 8-year old will write down the names of the trees, plants, and flowers on the printable. She'll have to identify what she can from memory.
- And the 10-year old will learn even more about these natural beauties by looking through our field guides (like the ones below). She's a lover of words and etymology so she's excited to take on some Latin roots.
I went out to the yard with camera and bucket in hand, ready to collect treasures. It's important to me that my children be able to identify local trees, plants, and flowers so I added samples of the varieties that we have in our yard.
For our printable, I used the HP Sprout to make photo-realistic images that I could manipulate quickly. I love creating special projects for my children, but I don't have a ton of time to do so. The Sprout was super helpful on this!
I captured the twelve items, rotated them on the page, and scaled them for a two-column layout. I could see keeping them on the computer, too, so that the kids can make their own pictures with our backyard features.
I'm excited to explore!! We all need to understand the world around us more, and this is a wonderful summer learning game, too.
How do you make the most of your outdoor space?
Other fun options with a nature's scavenger hunt could include taking photos of the leaves and flowers in your yard and printing them out for children to identify and find. You could also have them use the found objects from the bucket to run around and put them back in their natural habitats. This is a great opportunity to talk about each plant and variety!
What would you create with a Sprout?
P.S. Did you see how else we've used our Sprout?