Doesn’t it seem  like there is some magnetic pull between children and the treasures of nature?  Here’s an idea to encourage that discovery process.  

Outdoor Explorer Kit: Supplies

  • Child binoculars
  • Little plastic case (We have used both photo boxes and little suitcases from Michaels craft store)
  • Tweezers/tongs
  • Magnifying glass
  • Notebook
  • Pencil
  • Printouts of the labels for the notebook & the case  Outdoor_Explore_Kit
  • Clear tape

Outdoor Explorer Kit: Labels

Directions

  • Make a little kit to encourage the discovery and collection of nature items.  We included a set of labels for you.  (This would be great for a summer camp idea too!)  As you can tell from last year’s kit (the suitcase), it was a hit!

Outdoor Explorer Kit: Application of Labels

Outdoor Explorer Kit: Last Year's Kit

  • Once you have collected your items, take them home for further study.  We often put each item into the cups of an old muffin tin and examine them Have your child record their discoveries which might include a diagram (which they could label), a description (encourage them to use their senses) and to quantify their description (e.g. measure the length of a feather’s quill/ shaft).  They could compare and classify their objects as well.

Purpose

  • Using tools to assist in the handling and investigation of objects (e.g., magnification)
  • Encouraging discovery
  • Beginning to record one’s findings and see connections helps establish an interest in the scientific process
  • Appreciation of nature
  • Doing things such as labelling the parts of an object or making a cutaway help children to become familiar with some of the elements that are used in non-fiction writing and texts.

Safety Notes

  • We included tongs/ tweezers in case you are hesitant about your child handling feathers for cleanliness reasons
  • Caution should be used with a magnifying glass as it can be used to start a fire.
  • You may (from experience), want to discuss that tongs/ tweezers are for use in picking up objects rather than on each other!
  • As many binoculars have a string attached, review safety prior to use (e.g. taking them off at the playground in case they got caught on equipment).
  • Prior to collecting you may want to decide and discuss some guidelines that work for your family or group- do you want them to pick things that are alive for example?
  • Be sure to explore with adult supervision.
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