Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Paper and crayons
- Gloves and trash bags (for adults)
- Optional: Stickers representing items in nature (leaves, trees, acorns, squirrels, insects)
- Optional: Cups, pitcher and water
Preparation for Activity
- Arrange to walk around the outside of the congregation (you will need permission from parents/caregivers and you may need more volunteers than you usually have with the group). Take a pre-walk and look for items that show how we care for the earth. Does your congregation have solar panels? Recycle bins? A compost bin? Trees or a garden your community has planted?
- If your congregation participates in the UUA's Green Sanctuary program, invite knowledgeable volunteers to participate in the hike.
- Optional: Plan to remain outdoors for Activity 6, Circle Games, if the weather is likely to be favorable.
- Optional: Set up a table for drinks of water.
Description of Activity
The children observe and document evidence of the nature around your congregation and the ways your congregation helps take care of the earth.
Tell the group they will go outside to report on what kind of nature surrounds the building. Say that their walk will be like a treasure hunt and you will help them find nature's treasures outdoors. Tell them they can draw, write, or place stickers on paper to keep track of what they see. Hand out paper, crayons, and (optional) stickers.
As you go ask the group questions about what they see that is part of nature. Encourage them to point out plants and animals. How many trees or birds do they see? What about squirrels? Pigeons? If it has rained recently, are there earthworms? Is there grass? Does dry sand blow in a hot breeze? Are iced-over puddles starting to melt? Tailor your questions to the surroundings of the congregation. Help the children find and place stickers on paper or take notes by writing or drawing.
As you walk, ask if anyone notices anything that didn't belong. Some children may notice litter. This would be a good transition to discussing ways that we care for the earth. Put on gloves and use a trash bag to pick up any litter. Show or tell the children your plan to dispose of it appropriately (recycle or trash).
Next, point out your congregation's solar panels, recycle bins, compost bins, etc. Name each item and tell the children how it helps us care for the earth.
After the walk, have the children wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. Invite them to a drinks table and serve water to the children, whether you are still outdoors or have gone inside.
Including All Participants
Be aware of the participants' mobility challenges and make sure the outdoor space you plan to visit is accessible for all. If necessary, modify the outing to ensure each child can have an up-close, outdoor experience.