Students practice number, color, and shape recognition as they go on a nature hunt.
- Sidewalk chalk
- Outside space
How to Play
- Prep Work: Find a spot outside that has a variety of nature items and some sidewalk or concrete space. Look around to see what nature items are readily available. Use the sidewalk chalk to make blank circles and write different types of nature items above each circle as well as the total number of items you want the group to find. You will need to do this twice because you will divide your group into two smaller groups. The nature items will be different depending on what is in your surroundings, but some examples are: 3 green leaves, 2 small pebbles, 5 small pieces of grass, and 1 twig. Try to do at least 5 unique items they can hunt for so it is challenging for the students. In addition, use a variety of items, colors, and numbers of objects to keep the group on their toes and practicing a variety of skills.
- Split the group into two smaller groups. A creative way to do this is to have students get in pairs and have one student in each pair pick either mountains or beach. Have the mountains go to one spot and have the beach go to the other spot. These are the two groups for the nature hunt.
- Show the group the boundaries for the nature hunt and tell them they must stay with their group at all times.
- Explain the goal is to be the best nature hunters by filling all the circles with the correct number of items the fastest.
- On “Go” students will begin the hunt. Be mindful of where students are in the space and make sure to have eyes on all groups at all times.
- The first nature hunter group to find all their items will be the winner!
- After groups finish the nature hunt they can practice tracing what they found or drawing pictures of what they found.
Activity Prompts for Reflection
- Was there anything that was challenging for you during this activity?
- How did you and your group work together during the nature hunt?
- Could you have done something differently to work together better? What could you have changed?
- Did you feel listened to during this activity? If so, how and why?
- What are some strengths that you and your nature hunter group had during this activity?
- What are other additional items you saw in nature, not on the list, while you were hunting?
Other Ways to Play
- Instead of dividing the group in two, have the whole group work together to find the nature items. You would probably need to require more than 5 items for the group to find.
- Give challenges for students to do after the hunt. Ex: Stand by the largest amount of a nature item, hop to the smallest nature item, or stand on one foot beside the most colorful nature item.
- Instead of writing the nature hunt items in circles, make a hopscotch board and list the items in each square. Then have the students play hopscotch by throwing a rock to a square, hop through, and then go hunting for that particular item.
- Challenge students to do addition and subtraction problems with the nature finds. Ex: Add together the 4 green leaves and the 3 purple flowers.
- Have students come up with a nature chant or song to sing while they are hunting for nature.
- Make the contest more interesting by having the nature hunt groups pair off and tie their legs together so it is like a three-legged race during the nature hunt.
- Use the SEL Activity Prompts to tie other SEL competencies to this activity.
- If you’re in a location with a variety of colors in nature could assign each group a color to try to find in nature and the group with the biggest variety of their colored items would win.
- See a visual aid of activity taken from Nurturestore