Activity time: 30 minutes
Materials for Activity
- 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. If you have a wood, field, stream, or pond nearby, plan an excursion there.
- 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 bee stings, pollen, or other outdoor allergens and plan accordingly.
Description of Activity
Participants experience nature directly.
Take a walk outside. Ask the children what they think a lifecycle is. Say, in these words or your own:
Lifecycles are the stages that an animal goes through as it grows up. They usually start out eggs, then they become baby animals, then grown-ups. But some animals, like frogs and butterflies, have a baby animal stage that doesn't look anything like the grown-ups.
Tell them as you walk you're going to be nature detectives and you'll look for evidence or clues of animals of any stage, living or traveling where you walk. Look for nests of all kinds (insects, birds, squirrels). Talk about the homes animals have as they are babies and when they grow up to be adults. Look for spider webs, log piles, holes in the ground, tree branches, and other places that might be home to an animal at some stage of its life.
After your walk, process with questions such as:
- I wonder what you enjoyed the most about our walk?
- I wonder if there was anything on our walk that made you say, "Wow!"
Including All Participants
Determine whether there are any relevant allergies within your group, such as bee stings or pollen, and plan accordingly.
If you have a child who uses a wheelchair or has limited mobility, select a location that is accessible, with paved paths.