The treasures that nature offers us everyday, in big and small ways, are some of life’s most precious! Concrete and abstract, when we tune in to nature’s wonders we get a life filled with treasure.
That is why I created this Nature Connection Treasure Hunt for my Draw Yourself Back to Nature Blog Hop, and then adapted it to a Wonder Wednesday lesson – to get children (and their grown-ups) thinking about and connecting with the gifts of nature that we both can and can’t touch.
A century ago, at the peak of the Nature-Study Movement, collecting and displaying nature items was very popular, but these days in natural history circles that is frowned upon. And in ordinary scavenger hunts items are collected to prove they were found, but in this scavenger hunt, some of the items can’t be collected! They have to be interpreted. Well then how does it work?
Let me Explain!
Wonder Wednesday #32
Nature Connection Treasure Hunt
Optional: Clip boards, color pencils
Click to download and Print off the NatureConnectionTreasureHuntfunsheetpdf.
Make copies either for each child or for each group of treasure hunters.
In group, initiate a discussion about the gift nature gives us and how some of them we can pick up, but others we can only feel.
Have the children chime in with what they think are some of nature’s gifts (sea shells, rocks, flowers, vegetables and fruits, animals, the ocean, feelings of peace, a place to relax with friends and family, trees, leaf piles to jump in, our human sense of taste, bees, honeysuckle treats, roly-polys, anything really!)
Then explain to the children that they will be taking their list to go out and hunt for some of nature’s treasures available in your schoolyard, park, or wherever and with whomever you happen to be doing the activity. Only they won’t be collecting the items, they will be drawing them in their nature journals instead!
Discuss how one would represent the abstract items on the list, such as peace, on the journal page. Ideas could be to draw a space they find peaceful, to write a poem about a peaceful nature experience, or to draw a natural item they find that represents peace to them.
Release the children to hunt for nature’s treasures, making sure to remind them of: the physical parameters of the treasure hunting area, expectations for behavior and documentation of the natural items, and the time frame and how they will be called back to the group.
After treasure hunting, have the children return to the group to share. Let each child or group show a couple drawings and explain why they chose the items or experiences they did for the particular list item.
On another day, have the children choose one item from their journals and expand that into a creative writing assignment. They can write a paragraph about why they feel…soil, the wind, or manatees…are a special gift of nature.
In the Montessori elementary classroom, do this as a follow up activity to the concrete and abstract noun grammar tower card material work.
If you have older children, consider letting them also use a digital camera to collect list items and then turn the experience into a classroom blog post, newsletter, or photo essay.
Share your Nature Treasures on Instagram #wingswormsandwonder
Seeds To Sprout:
Watch the original Day 5 Blog Hop video that went with this activity to see how I framed it for adults.
Join the Draw Yourself Back to Nature eCourse for lots more creative nature connection and journaling projects, ideas, and lessons. Then, take what you learned and adapt it to use with the students and children in your classroom, community learning center, or home!