Wonder Wednesday #32: Nature Connection Treasure Hunt

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



Nature Journals


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:

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!

About the author 

Kelly Johnson's passion is helping enthusiastic gardeners & journalers like you grow nature inspired art journal routines & gardens one seed at a time.
  1. This sounds like so much fun – I’ve been meaning to do a scavenger hunt with my daughter for way too long. We’re going to try this out on our next clear day — I’ll let you know how it goes!

    1. Jennifer, I can’t wait to hear how it goes!!! Post pics on IG #wingswormsandwonder so I can see!!!

  2. I am addicted to nature and nature hunt is just awesome. Even now being adult I bring some stones, sticks and feathers home from time to time. I just like to look at them and touch them. And kids in my groups always liked nature gifts

    1. Katherine, Thank you so much! That is awesome! I always bring nature treasures home too!

  3. This is such a wonderful nature hunt! I love how you creatively incorporated art into exploring nature. I want to do this myself! 🙂

    1. You should do it Vanessa! It would be super fun. i always make activities that I want to do myself!

  4. I'd love to try the Nature Treasure Hunt, but can't get the link to work. Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. Dear Brianna, I’m so sorry for the broken link. It is fixed now. When I got a new website some of the links inevitably didn’t transfer and there are so many of them it’s impossible to know which – until I know! Thank you for letting me know and happy treasure hunting! 🙂

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