Although I lived on acreage properties from the age of 12, surrounded by nature, bush, creeks, wild animals (thanks to my dad’s job of photographing Australian reptiles and fish, there were always snakes, fish, frogs, and lizards on site), and trees, I’m much more of an urban girl at heart. I do like my funky shops, freshly made chai, art galleries, and events.
I do love spending time in nature, especially if it involves a swim in our local river but I have to admit, my eyes for spotting nature’s treasures are not as sharp as they could be. I long for guidance and a teacher of some kind- to be taught the name of that lovely bird I’ve seen for three days in a row, to pick up a seedpod and know the tree it has come from and when it flowers, or to know how and why honey is named. (I know this now, thanks to Phil the beekeeper! Honey is subtly flavoured by which trees and blossoms the bees have feasted upon, and beekeepers move their hives to give their bees access to different nectars.)
Some children, particularly ones who live in built-up, urban or city locations, may need a little bit of help to open their eyes to the wonders of nature too. This nature trail activity can help to train and focus their eyes to find nature’s prize. And may help them to ask questions and seek answers about their local environment and space. Taking time to dig a little deeper into nature is the key to children learning to love nature and the environment. We definitely need these kinds of children today!
For this activity, all you do is prepare yourself a list of broad open-ended descriptions (keep it handy in your pocket as you roam, and add an impromptu suggestion or two as you find them) and, item by item, ask the children to find something that matches the category.
Here’s a few suggestions of what you might seek…
- something smooth and round
- something yellow or red
- something long and thin
- a shiny object
- a seedpod
- something that flies in the air (eg helicopter seed, feather, dandelion puff)
- a sharp and spiky leaf
- a fragrant blossom
- a piece of fruit grown on a tree
- a handful of sand or dirt
- a pretty flower bud, closed
- something brown and hard
- something squishy
- something you can make something from
If you are so inclined, you might collect some of your finds. Or draw them. Or take photos of them. Or maybe you’ll just enjoy the eye-opening walk…
Can you think of something to add to the list of possibilities?