Hi! I’m Louise. It’s so exciting to be guest-posting for ‘Because Babies Grow Up’ and this is the very first in the ‘Blog of the Week’ series of Sensory themed posts throughout October. You can see Amber’s wonderful guest-post on my page Building Blocks and Acorns, where I write about lots of nature and sensory inspired activities that I do with my 2 year old son, with hints of my teaching background thrown in there, too, to ‘grow learning experiences for little people.’
Nature’s Treasure – A Scavenger Hunt
What I love about creating a Nature Table, is that it involves going out with your little one (my boy is known on my blog as ‘Darth’ because of my husband’s love of all things Star-Wars,) and collecting items to bring back home and enjoy. This is such a simple but joyful activity to do with your child – and it can be a success whether you bring back two different types of leaves, or a whole bag full of nature’s treasure!!
When we went for a walk, I prompted ‘Darth’ to look for certain colored leaves on the ground. We also came across other treasures such as feathers and seeds (it’s fall here in the UK right now, but this could easily be adapted for other seasons.) Before too long, he was exploring everywhere to try and find natural objects to bring home. Placing them carefully in the bag, he would squeal with delight as he ran off to find the next piece of treasure!
You can teach your child about being respectful to nature by not picking from living plants and trees or damaging habitats for creatures. Talk to your child about this as you go around… you’ll be surprised at how gentle children can be with nature when they follow your lead.
Please note; it is very important to wash yours and your child’s hands after handling items found outside.
Creating a Nature’s Treasure Table
Whilst you’re out having fun on a walk, children often miss stopping and quietly observing a leaf, seed, or feather. Bringing those treasures back home is such a wonderful way of encouraging your child to stop and use their senses to explore these objects much more carefully. Be sure to have your nature table set-up for when your little one comes down in the morning, for example… it’s an ‘invitation to explore,’ rather than you forcing them to come and look at everything.
Some items were grouped, whilst others, like the sycamore seeds, were ‘scattered’ around on the table to create visual interest. Natural woven baskets were also used to add an open-ended element for sorting or counting (and they look good, too!) Of course, a child-safe magnifying glass was also placed on the table to encourage ‘Darth’ to observe each item carefully.
A mixture of soft items (such as feathers,) and rough items (such as some types of seeds and leaves,) were placed on the table for a tactile, sensory element. Your table doesn’t even have to have a single leaf on… you could create a treasure table with found items from the beach, or pebbles from a stream! You could pick fresh herbs from the garden and use those… the possibilities are endless! Each time we go on a trip to a different type of landscape, we bring back some of those treasures and look at them closely.
A follow-up walk is an excellent way to round-off the nature experience. If you can, re-visit the place where you got your treasures from and return the items to nature once you have finished looking at them… can they find the oak tree to put the acorns back? Can they match the seed to the tree?
I hope you’ve been inspired to get out into nature and bring back some of those wonderful treasures! What would you bring back?
More about Building Blocks and Acorns
Be sure to follow Building Blocks and Acorns to keep up to date with the ‘Blog of the Week’ posts!
Tweet us: @BlocksAcorns