Activity time: 25 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Paper, and crayons or pencils for all participants
- Optional: Stickers representing items in nature (leaves, trees, acorns, squirrels, insects)
Preparation for Activity
- Arrange to walk around the outside of the congregation. If needed, obtain parents' permission. Invite additional adults to join you to ensure adequate supervision (and to make this activity multigenerational).
- Read Alternate Activity 1, Earth-Saving Skills. If you have time during or after the Nature Inventory walk, invite the children to share what they have seen outdoors and discuss specific skills and behaviors they can use to protect the Earth.
Description of Activity
The children observe and document the nature that exists outside the congregation's building. Before going outside, ask the children what they have noticed about the grounds around the congregation. Explain that they will be going outside to report on what kind of nature surrounds the building. Tell them they will draw, write or place stickers on paper to keep track of what they see.
As you walk, ask the group questions about what they see that is part of nature. How many trees or birds do they see? If yes, what kinds? What about squirrels? Pigeons? If it has rained recently, are there earthworms? Is there grass? Tailor your questions to the surroundings of the congregation.
When you are processing, ask if anyone noticed anything that didn't belong. Some children may notice litter. This would be a good transition to discussing pollution and how that harms nature. If you are in the woods and no litter has been spotted, ask how foreign debris would affect the site.
Including All Participants
Be aware of any mobility issues with any of the children 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 outdoors experience.
Be mindful of any special needs children have. Is there a deaf child? Ask what they see. Is there a blind child? Ask what they hear. Have the group participate in focusing on specific senses, as well. Do they hear birds, squirrels running or wind rustling the leaves?
Some children might not be able to write, but most will be able to draw or use stickers to record what they see outdoors. Bring a variety of nature stickers and be ready to help children spell words they want to write.