Give & Take with Nature

An Exploratory Nature Activity for Preschoolers!

Open the door and start to explore. We can thank Nature for this activity – she brings all the required materials right to you!‚Äč

Older Infants, Toddlers
Learning Domains:
Approaches to Learning
Materials Needed:
A tote, pail, or bag for each child.
Pre-explore your outdoor area to be sure any obvious hazards are removed. If nature has done its job, there will be “gifts of fall” available for the picking. If you’re in an area without trees to drop these gifts, you’ll need to stage a collection area. Gather pine cones, acorns, seedpods, and a variety of leaves and scatter them in the play area.         
Give each child a tote or basket for collecting. A basket with a handle or a pail may be easier for young children to manage. You can use pumpkin trick or treat baskets which are readily available at discount stores at this time of year. After all, pumpkins are part of the fall harvest!
Show the children examples of the objects that they can collect for their baskets. Practice in the classroom before you go outside.
Be very clear that objects that are found outside cannot be put in their mouths. You might want to do this activity with a few children at a time so you can keep a close watch!
The most fun part of this activity might be the last step. In this activity, what comes from nature gets returned to nature.  Once the basket is filled with treasures, it gets put right back. Now the seeds and pods and acorns can do their jobs!
Vocabulary Boosters:  
Here are some new words and phrases to introduce during this activity.
Collect – Show the children how to act-out collecting things in a basket
Pinecone – it grows on a pine tree and falls to the ground. It carries seeds.
Acorn – a seed from a tree. Squirrels like to eat acorns
Basket – it holds things, sometimes it has a handle. Show examples.
Leaf/Leaves – this is an opportunity to use the singular and plural of a common word. Emphasize this difference when you use these words in this activity. “Oh, you found a leaf.” “Look at all the leaves we found.”
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