Now that Spring is officially here, we're all looking for new and exciting ways to enjoy the outdoors with our children. Every year while teaching preschool I would take my class (accompanied with a parent) to our local park for a Scanvenger Hunt. It was free and fun and taught the children that there is more to a park then just the slides and swings. This activity is best done with children 3 and older, however, I've seen younger siblings on the field trips tag a long just fine.
Here's What You Do
Create a list of things to look for or activities to carry out at the park. Don't forget to include play time on the play equipment or else this activity will fail. Think of it like walking into a coffee shop only to smell the aroma but not being able to buy a yummy drink.
Now your list will depend on the park you visit. The next time you visit the park look around for things you can add to your list.
Here are some examples we used on our fieldtrip. We stapled our list to a brown paper bag and gave a bag to each child. If you would prefer to leave the objects at the park then just scrap the bag and bring a list and crayon to mark your progress.
Find a smooth rock
Find a rough rock
Go down the red slide three times
Find a leaf bigger than your hand
Find 3 pinecones
Count all the swings in the park
Count the baby ducks
Find a twig on the ground, where do twigs come from?
Find a flower, what colour is the flower?
Look for a bug of any kind, what is that bug doing?
Not only does this activity teach a child that a park is a home to many animals and birds, it also promotes language and conversation between you and your child. Be sure to ask them questions and describe as much as they can understand as you go along.
Don't worry if you only get through half your list. This is meant to be fun and non stressful for you and your child. You can always finish your list another day.
* Bring along a camera and take pictures as you go. You and your child can then make a nature book together at home using the pictures from the park.