Scavenger Hunt to Spark Kids’ Love of Nature

Hats off to teachers…it’s time for Mid-Week Focus to feature fun, easy, attention-getting activities that bring the outdoors indoors and SPARK KIDS’ LOVE OF NATURE!

An unknown author once wrote, “A nature lover is a person who, when treed by a bear, enjoys the view.” 

One big “bear” that teachers and parents in some parts of the world face today is encouraging children to love and respect nature. Why? Research suggests there’s a disconnect between kids and nature because of alleged “culprits,” including restricted recess time in test-driven school systems, excessive time with electronic games, jam-packed structured schedules, the list goes on…

"Look what I found in our classroom garden!"

“Look what I found in our classroom garden!”

How can we spark kids’ love of nature?

My Outdoors – Indoors Scavenger Hunt offers tools and tricks to help kids, like the boy in my blog pic here, “jump for joy” about nature’s bounty.

TICKETS PLEASE – Assist students in making a connection between spending time outdoors and three resulting health benefits that can help them stay focused and on task in class.

Create tickets to give kids with a title that reads: TICKET to TIME OUTDOORS -TIP TOP SHAPE! Below the title, print:

  1. Exercise Outdoors = Energy in School
  2. Eating natural foods = Healthy Bodies & Alert Minds
  3. Outdoor Fun = Less Stress

The Outdoors – Indoors Scavenger Hunt continues…

BRING THE OUTDOORS INDOORS – Invite kids to experience the joy of getting their hands dirty planting a garden, either right outside your classroom window, like the garden in my blog pic below,

Look at the garden grow. Can you name the flowers we've planted?

Look at the garden grow. Can you name the flowers we’ve planted?

or inside your room near a sunny spot.

FIND NATURAL WONDERS RIGHT INSIDE YOUR ROOM – Encourage children to never take nature for granted by pointing out the natural wonders you can find indoors, thanks to windows on the world!

What might you find?

  • Sunshine streaming across classroom walls.
  • Shadows from clouds blocking the sun, darkening sections of bookshelves and desks.
  • Water in the sink, flowing in through pipes connected to community sources. NOTE: This activity offers multiple connections to science units, including the study of water, one of earth’s precious resources.
  • Bits and pieces of leaves tracked in on the soles of students’ shoes. Instead of leaving all natural debris on the floor of your room for later sweeping, pick up a few leaf pieces and invite the class to investigate them. Are they wet or dry? Where might they have been outdoors? What tree yielded the leaves?
  • The beauty of a bird’s song chirping in an open window.

MODEL APPRECIATION FOR NATURE – Children learn what they live, and they live a lot of hours in school! That means that teachers have plenty of opportunities to model appreciation for nature.

Georgia O'Keefe, A Sunflower from Maggie, 1937, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 in., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Alfred Stieglitz Collection-Bequest of Georgia O'Keefe, C 2007 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Photograph C 2012 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Georgia O’Keefe, A Sunflower from Maggie, 1937, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 in., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Alfred Stieglitz Collection-Bequest of Georgia O’Keefe, C 2007 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Photograph C 2012 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Show art that exhibits the beauty of nature, like the popular sunflower painting shown in my blog pic here by American artist, Georgia O’Keefe.

Scavenge through posts I’ve previously published to get more ideas on catching attention with a natural touch and making learning a picnic with Make A Plate Picnic Day!

Bring rocks and minerals to school, like you see in my blog pic below. Invite students to do the same, and discuss the colors, shapes and textures of the collection.

Older elementary school students may also enjoy learning names of rocks, minerals, semi-precious and precious stones.

A fifth grade student in one of my recent classes was especially fascinated by minerals. I encouraged him to record his observations. He wrote, “bright blue aquamarine; shiny green tourmaline; dark and light quartz.” There’s no doubt that this boy loves nature!

Rocks, minerals and semi-precious stones in a ceramic box invite investigation of nature.

Rocks, minerals and semi-precious stones in a ceramic box invite an investigation of nature.

Some teachers engage students in Earth Day celebrations each April.

Those of us who believe that it’s important to spark kids’ love of nature to help them grow into healthy adults with global consciousness know that Earth Day is every day!

Please let me know what you and your students discover on your Outdoors – Indoors Scavenger Hunt!

Talk with you again soon,

BarbaraThe Lovable Poet

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Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Young students are getting noisy while you’re trying to teach.

Solution: Hold up "Listen Star," a toy magic wand that you’ve designated to be a cue for quiet. Tell the class, "When you see our friend, 'Listen Star' dance across the classroom sky, that’s your signal to HUSH for a moment."

Related Posts: Let "Listen Star" Work Magic for You