Activity time: 20 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Lunch-sized paper bags, cloth bags, or small baggies, one per child
- Optional: Flashlights, magnifying glasses, or handheld dental mirrors
Preparation for Activity
- Inform families of your plan to bring the children outdoors. Arrange all necessary details, such as transportation, permission slips, sunscreen, insect repellent, and appropriate clothing.
- Select an appropriate location for your nature walk in consultation with the religious educator.
- Make sure you can recognize poison ivy. Learn about any venomous or otherwise dangerous creatures in your local habitat and how to avoid them.
- Determine whether anyone is allergic to beestings, pollen, or other outdoor allergens and plan accordingly.
Description of Activity
This activity invites participants to experience nature directly.
Go on a nature walk. Notice the different plants, insects, and animals you see along the way. Remind the children to interact with all living beings gently so as not to cause harm. Carefully look under rocks or leaves, replacing them gently when you are done. Invite participants to place in their paper bags any interesting non-living items they find, such as acorns, stones, or leaves. Use dental mirrors or other tools to get a close-up look without disturbing the environment. As you notice a new creature, pause and ask the children how it helps the web of life. Does it provide food for someone? Does it help pollinate the flowers? Does it provide shelter?
After your walk, process the activity:
- I wonder what you enjoyed the most about our walk.
- What did you find on our walk that made you say, "Wow!"
- I wonder how we can be helpful partners for the animals and plants we saw today.
Including All Participants
Identify any relevant allergies within your group, such as bee stings or pollen, and plan accordingly.
Select a location that is accessible, with paved paths, to accommodate any participant uses a wheelchair or has mobility limitations.