Teaching kids about nature doesn't have to be a daunting task. Camp counsellors, teachers and outdoor education instructors often share ideas on the Internet for fun games that will get young learners excited to be outside. Some of these games are simple and require little in the way of preparation or materials; others need more planning to implement smoothly. But all of them are fun and educational ways to get kids interested in the world around them.
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Nature Scavenger Hunt
Try an outdoorsy twist on the classic scavenger hunt to get kids looking around a forest or other natural setting for tokens to collect. Outdoor Nature Child recommends that an adult go through the list of sought-after items before turning the kids loose on the hunt, to gauge the difficulty of the list and the amount of time required to complete it. Items can include just about anything found outdoors, including feathers, leaves from specific trees, flowers, animal scat, pine cones and many other items. The difficulty, the number of items and the length of the hunt can be adjusted for younger or older groups. At the end of the hunt, have everyone return to a central location to tell tales about their adventures.
Take a page from the television show "Iron Chef" and give each child an identical set of natural materials, advises Ultimate Camp Resource. Pine cones, twigs, leaves, flowers and anything else that can be found in nature are all fair game, as long as each child has the same materials. Determine the length of the competition and set the kids loose to create monsters, figures, sculptures or whatever they want out of the chosen materials. At the end of the allotted time, the students will share their creations and explain the process they went through to make them.
Ants on a Log
GNMParents recommends Ants on a Log to get kids outside and working in a group. Using a long, fallen tree wide enough to walk on (other long, sturdy objects can be used. if necessary). line the kids up and tell them they are ants. The ants must walk from their nest to a food source and back along the log without getting out of order. When the leader of the group reaches the far end of the log, he must turn around and begin walking back down the log past the row of oncoming ants; this is where things will get tricky. Any child who slips or jumps off the log has to go back to the beginning and start over again.
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