Nature Bingo

Concepts and skills: Observation of native species

 

Recommended ages: 6 and up

 

Materials:

Nature Bingo card

Markers or stickers

 

What to do: Go outside and enjoy nature. Focus your observations by using a Nature Bingo card. Use a marker or sticker to mark your findings. Try to get four corners, five in a row, or fill the whole card!

 

Additional resources:

More nature activities

 

Photo Safari

Concepts and skills: Close observation skills, native species identification

 

Recommended ages: 9 and up

 

Materials:

Camera or phone with a camera

 

What to do: Explore any area outside, from your backyard to a nearby natural area. Observe what you see, including small details such as moss growing on a tree or flowers starting to grow. Take pictures of what you find.  Older children may enjoy identifying some of their findings using field guides or the resources below.

 

Additional resources:

Invasive species guide

Native species identification resources 

Information on native species

 

Planting

Concepts and skills: Problem-solving, scientific method, experimentation, observation

 

Recommended ages: 5 and up

 

Materials:

Paper towel

Soil (potting soil or from outside)

Seeds (from packets, dried beans, and/or seeds from fresh fruits and vegetables)

Zipper seal bags

Recycled plastic cups (such as yogurt containers)

Empty egg cartons, or other recycled materials to start your seeds (see article below for more information and suggestions)

 

What to do: Experiment with starting plants inside your own kitchen! You can experiment with different seeds and kitchen scraps to start growing plants.  Experiment with what works best for different fruits and vegetables. With an adult’s help, use the resources below to research what is recommended for different vegetables.  Try out different methods. What can you get to grow? Should you put the scrap or seed in water to start? Or in soil? Should you dry it before planting it?

 

Additional resources:

How to grow vegetables from kitchen scraps

How to make your own seed starter pots from household materials

 

Nature Art

Concepts and skills: Creativity, art, enjoying nature

 

Recommended ages: Great for the whole family!

 

Materials:

Paper

Glue

Glue sticks

Markers

Pencils

Colored pencils

Paint

Any other art supplies

Bag to collect natural materials

 

What to do: Go outside around where you live or in a park. First, make sure collecting natural materials is allowed in the area. Take a walk and collect natural materials to use for an art project. Make sure to respect nature while you are doing this by taking fallen or dead leaves or only picking a small amount that won’t harm the plant. 

 

Once you have collected your supplies, use any art materials that you have at home to create nature art. Young children can focus on process art, while older children can create a finished art project.

 

Additional resources:

More nature exploration ideas

Outdoor nature activities

 

Nature Journal

Concepts and skills: Observation skills, communication, seasonal change

 

Recommended ages: 5 and up

 

Materials:

Notebook or paper and binding material (i.e. staples, yarn and hole punch, etc.)

Art materials (glue, glue sticks, markers, pencils, etc.)

 

What to do: Use a notebook you have at home or create your own using paper and staples or yarn.  Decorate your nature journal. Go outside and enjoy nature near where you live or in a nearby park or natural area.  Young children will enjoy collecting natural materials to glue in their notebook and can draw what they see. Older children can write about what they see. 

 

Encourage children to notice changes as the seasons start to change. It works great to have children observe the same area over time as we move into spring.  Encourage close observation but allow for your child to explore what they are interested in and to observe it closely.

 

Additional resources: 

How do the seasons work?

Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas COVID-19 Information

Greater Lansing Parks, Trails, and Gardens 

 

Sensory Walk

Concepts and skills: Sensory engagement, observation of the natural world, native species

 

Recommended ages: Great for the whole family!

 

Materials:

Optional: Magnifying glasses

Empty and clean recycled clear plastic jars to observe insects

Bug nets

 

What to do: Take a walk outside whether it is through your neighborhood, in a nearby park, or in a natural area.  Encourage children to use their senses (except taste!) to observe nature. This is a great time to observe the seasons changing as you go for walks. 

 

What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? What do you feel? (Please be safe when allowing children to touch things in nature and always supervise children. See link below for plants to avoid.)

 

Additional resources: 

Young child nature activities

Plants to avoid while hiking