Activity time: 20 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Paper lunch bags, one per child
- Optional: Flashlights, magnifying glasses, or handheld dental mirrors
- Optional: "All God's Creatures... Even the Bat," Fall 2012 UU World Family pages
Preparation for Activity
- Communicate with families in advance and inform them of the plan to spend time outdoors. Arrange transportation, permission slips, sunscreen, insect repellent, water, and appropriate clothing.
- Select a location for the nature walk in consultation with the religious educator.
- Make sure the walk will be safe for all. Learn about any poisonous varieties of spiders that exist in your area and how to avoid them. Determine whether anyone is allergic to bee stings, pollen, or other outdoor allergens and plan accordingly.
- Optional: Take a look at the Fall 2012 UU World Family pages. This magazine insert's theme is the fascinating, unusual, and sometimes repellent creatures in our world and our attitudes toward them. You will find reflections and activities to enhance this session, and a story, "Why Bat Has No Friends," you might choose to tell outdoors on this nature walk.
Description of Activity
Go for a nature walk to seek evidence of the web of life. Encourage children to notice the different plants, insects, and animals you see along the way. Talk about ways these living things interact and depend on one another. If you find spider webs, look at them with your flashlights, magnifying lenses, and dental mirrors. Point out how intricate, beautiful, and delicate they are. Teach the children to treat them gently and leave them untouched so the spiders can catch their food. Encourage gentleness with any creatures and plants you encounter. Invite participants to place any interesting non-living items they find in their paper bags, such as acorns, stones, or leaves. When you return from the walk, invite children to share the items they collected. Discuss how these items connect with the living things on the interconnected web.
Including All Participants
If a child is afraid of spiders, allow the child to establish their distance from them; do not push a child to get closer than is comfortable. Reassure the child that the spiders you are looking at are not poisonous and will not bother people unless we scare or hurt them. Model calm and fascination.
Find out about any relevant allergies among the children (e.g., bee stings or pollen) and plan accordingly. If any participant uses a wheelchair or has limited mobility, limit the walk to a fully accessible outdoor location (e.g., paved paths).