Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer's Simple Things - Scavenger Hunts

Life (ok, really my sister-in-law) handed me a bowl of

elderberries.  So, naturally, I set off to make some jam.  If you have ever cleaned elderberries, you know what long process it can be.  And how messy.  Definitely a task to be done outside.  But if your kids were outside with you all morning picking blueberries, then they know how hot it was.  So they need a little encouragement.  It was evening, and hence it was cooling down.  From my long lost bag of tricks, I pulled out the scavenger hunt.  They were game.

I gave each of them a basket.

And an age appropriate list of items.  Sweetpea, being only just 3, was asked to find a stevia leaf (her favorite go to herb in the herb garden) and a yellow flower.  Boy's list was a little bit longer - a yellow flower, 2 different edible leaves, a red raspberry (if he could find one), and a tree leaf.

Of course, he had to take a snack along with him on this long journey.

Munch had a longer list still - an edible leaf, an edible flower, a pink flower with a long stem (I wanted one for a vase), an evergreen needle, a deciduous tree leaf, a ripe tomato, and a jewel weed seed pod - NOT broken.

Each time they returned with their basket full of findings, I gave them another list.  This can be a great teaching tool.  You can ask the kids to find anything they might be learning about.  Anything to teach them more in depth information about their environment.  You could even turn this into a picture scavenger hunt.  Give the kid a camera and ask them to photograph all kinds of things - a bug on a plant, a worm in the ground, a maple tree, an interesting stick, the veins of a leaf, 2 leaves with different vein structures, the bark of 2 different trees,....   It's so much fun to come up with things for them to find.

Inevitably, this kind of adventure sparks the interest for another kind of adventure.

A road trip.

Yikes!!!  Sweetpea is driving!  Slow down, sweetie.

I don't know if you can tell what's going on here.  But the entire time Sweetpea was running down the driveway full steam with a loaded wagon chasing her, Boy was keeping up with her and sticking his foot under the wheel of the wagon.  Speed bumps I can only presume.  Since I had already put down the camera and happened to be making tremendous progress on those elderberries, my hands were again covered with sticky purple juice.  It took me a bit of time to get the camera out, and I only was able to catch the action on the way back up the driveway.  Not quite as impressive of a picture, but fun nevertheless.

What fun things are you doing this summer?  Join Kim over at The Inadvertent Farmer for more Summer's Simple Things!!  It really is a lot of fun!!!


Ann said...

I saw those elder plants when we were out there a while ago. They were just loaded with berries. I picked most of ours, but I saw some cedar waxwings eating them, so I decided to leave them to it.

alayne said...

Quite right! You are the bird lady!! :o)

Whirliegig said...

Great harvest of berries!!

Jess said...

The berries in the bowl are so very beautiful! I will certainly be stealing your idea of a scavenger hunt for the kids. I love how you made yours such a learning tool. My boys would totally be into that.

alayne said...

Hi, Jess. Thanks! I hope they have fun with it!