Nature provides boundless ways to engage children. A walk outside can become an adventure with just a few helpful tools and an active imagination. Here’s an activity that can be easily done anywhere with kids — including your own backyard or the neighborhood park!
Bug Fun Facts
Did you know that if you put all the insects in the world on a giant scale, they would weigh more than all the humans?
Scientists estimate there are 6 to 10 million insects in the world and only about 1 million have been identified and named.
Insects are an essential part of the natural world and vary in size, color and shape — just like the plants they depend on. Insects have specialized eyes, mouths, legs and wings that allow them to interact with plants and animals in unusual and interesting ways.
You can take a Bug Safari anywhere, just step outside to discover the wonderful world of insects.
A summer nature notebook is a fun way to notice the changes and special events of summertime.
Throughout the summer, the days grow longer and then shorter again. Temperatures rise and fall. We have days of rain and days of sunshine. Plants grow and bloom. Encourage your child to notice changes, in the light, the stars, in plants and animals and the weather. Have him or her make note of these observations in the journal.
Collecting a few leaves or flowers (with permission, of course) will also tell the story of summer and give you material for beautiful summer cards.
A small notebook
Plain paper to press plants. Think about how many pages you want to have in your notebook, you can add more later. Stack the paper up and use a three-hole punch to make a row of holes the left side of the pages.
Heavy paper or card stock, for summer cards. Cardstock should be cut in half, and folded later to make small cards.
Pencils, watercolors, colored pencils, or pens
A small collection of plants that you have permission to collect
Large heavy books to press your plants or a flower press
Summertime is the best time to test nature detective skills. The woods, streams, plants and animals provide all the intrigue you need for a day of exploring nature.
Recently a group of children ages 5-11 visited Matthaei Botanical Gardens for a Sketchbook Detectives program.
We started off telling the story of a young explorer-botanist named Linnea, with a goal of our guests setting off on a quest to find all the discoveries Linnea made in the story. Once the story was complete, off we went – with clipboards, pencils and adventure bag in tow!
Stopping on the bridge to watch turtles, tadpoles and lily pads bob in the water we took out our pencils and sketched what each of us saw.
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