Monday, May 3, 2010

Our garden and scavenger hunts!

I live in the beautiful community of Nelson, BC. Since March, most of my friends have begun their spring gardening, and even at my 6 yr old's Waldorf school, they are embracing spring with their lovely songs and planting projects.
WELL, where my family lives, it's a bit of a different story. While we're only 15 minutes out of town, we're also those short 15 minutes towards the famous Whitewater Ski Hill.
What this means, is that we are in a serious snow belt. Our snow isn't completely melted yet. My garden is only just now starting to show it's little crocus colours. And out of impulse, mixed with a bit of jealously of my neighbours in town, I went to the local nursery here and spent way too much on wistful purchases.

One such purchase occurred last week, when I made a trek out to Georama (the nursery) innocently to buy some beautiful Crocosmia that i had special ordered. I meandered through the enticing outdoor displays, when i found myself in the fruit tree section. Danger, danger Will.

Ok, so I left there about $150 broker, but two beautiful apple trees richer!!
Apple trees.... mmmm, crispy crunchy sweet. These are early ripeners for our harsh, cold climate (15 minutes to the tropics, bah), and they will have fruit within 2-3 years, just in time for my almost two year old to climb with her then to be 10 year old sister. Perfect.

And while I'm on the topic of trees and planting out in nature, I wanted to mention our lovely new little product, just in time for spring, the Nature Bag!

A little bag, chock full of outdoor projects and ideas for children, it's an award winning green eco-toy, made by a lovely company based in Vancouver.

My daughter loves 'scavenger hunts' and they always seem to be an exciting theme to her birthday parties, and playdates. Kids never tire of scavenger hunts.
So, I am leaving you with a wonderful way to make being out in nature ever so much fun for you and your children!

Scavenger Hunts

When you are in the outdoors, one idea to help make a nature walk or hike more appealing to children is to offer them the challenge of a scavenger or treasure hunt. Just remember to leave nature undisturbed and respect the natural surroundings.

We have collected together some ideas to encourage children to think creatively and use their observational skills.

Alphabet Nature Hunt

Spot items that begin with the different letters of the alphabet eg acorn, beetle/berries, catkin, dead tree etc

Miniature Scavenger Hunt

Provide a small container such as an empty matchbox and ask the children them to fit as many different natural things inside as possible. Search for a seed, a blade of grass, a pine needle, a tiny stone, a small leaf etc. After about 20 minutes all come together and carefully tip out the contents from each container, counting how many tiny objects you each found.

Texture Scavenger Hunt

Take a nature walk. How many of these textures can you touch? Can you find any different textures not mentioned below?

furry moss
prickly pine needles
smooth flower buds
waxy evergreen leaves
rough tree roots
silky flower petals
soggy decomposing leaves
brittle twigs
flexible grasses
sticky tree sap
lacy skeleton leaves

Treasures from your Imagination

How about using ideas from a storybook or film and try to find a fairy’s cloak, a dragon’s scale, a hobbit’s hole or a goblin’s den. Such imaginings could lead to the discovery of all sorts of wonderful treasures.


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