Sunday, March 16, 2014

Have a Nature Scavenger Hunt with your Kiddos to Welcome Spring!

One Wonderful Saturday...

My 3.5 year old son turned to me and said "Mommy? I want to learn about Science."  The words I have been dreaming to hear since I learned I was pregnant! I'm a Science-a-holic myself, and my first career was in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Georgetown University Medical Center, I LOVE BRAINS. *Not Zombie*

When I was a kid, my dad had "Science Sundays" for my identical twin sister and I.  We dug up fossilized leaves. We made volcanoes. We searched for bugs in the backyard. We made wonderful MEMORIES! and most importantly, we both developed a life-long love of Science. My twin sister has gone on to become an extremely successful Physicians Assistant, and specializes in the background science of disease. 

Kiddo showing off a seed he found
2.7 milliseconds after uttering those words, I grabbed my son, a backpack full of gear, and some fruitsnacks/water, and headed to our local park, Claude Moore, in Sterling VA.  Miles of beautiful trails, lakes, streams, and even an historical area, this is our favorite place to spend a sunny day; and a perfect location for a Nature Scavenger Hunt!
I made a simple 10 item list: 7 "easy" items and 3 "maybes":
  1. Something red
  2. A bug with 6 legs
  3. An oak tree
  4. A fish
  5. A red bird
  6. A feather
  7. A seed
  8. A pinecone
  9. A squirrel
  10. An earthworm

Kiddo spots a Cardinal - Check!
We started down a trail, he was thrilled, all decked out with books, binoculars, a net, and a magnifying glass (all found at the local toy store when he was barely 6 months old- mommies can dream!)

He loved using the binoculars-- after he finally looked through them the right way of course ; )

Off to look for some fish
As a boy, his favorite activity was getting muddy and wet in the stream, looking for fish, tadpoles, and other interesting things.  I literally had to drag him away from the water to go on to the next item on our list.  But we ended up back in the water anyway! (BRING BOOTS!)

We collected some of the items (pinecone, seed, feather), but left most things there. Like the red bird and squirrel of course!)

Kiddo running to the water, holding his bag of goodies.
The hunt took about an hour, he had a BLAST! We talked about the science behind each item... how seeds grow.  How to distinguish an oak tree from other trees, what pinecones are, and what types of birds and animals eat them (there are seeds inside!).  We talked about what types of animals live on land, water, or both.  We discussed why birds have feathers while squirrels have fur.  He was loving it, and learning, all at the same time!

After we found everything on our list, we found a lovely spot with a bench near the water, and celebrated with fruit snacks, while looking over our collection.  (**After liberally applying hand sanitizer of course! A must if you're going to be playing in a stream or lake!)

It was a wonderful day, and one I will never forget; and hopefully one he will remember as well.

What did we do next?

We went to the library of course!  We checked out books on animals, trees, and DINOSAURS!

Check back next week for our "Make your own fossil adventure!"

Want more now? Check out this great list of kiddo-friendly science experiementsHave fun with science experiments for kids!

Thanks for reading! I blog on educational childrens activities, as well as living and parenting with chronic pain and disease.  Follow me by entering your email in the upper left hand corner where it says "Follow by Email", you will receive a notification from "feedburner," so click the link in the email to confirm your subscription. Or, follow me on Twitter!

tags: science, kids, experiments, children, activities, education, toddlers, nature, sterling, claude moore park, parenting, parenting tips


  1. Sounds like so much fun!! What a great mommy!! Looking forward to doing one!!

  2. Ever wanted to get free Twitter Followers?
    Did you know that you can get them AUTOMATICALLY AND TOTALLY FOR FREE by registering on Like 4 Like?

  3. Great post! Thanks you so much for the share. Keep up the Excellent work, we look forward to reading more from you in the future!
    mobile app for schools in india


Thanks for commenting! :) I read all comments and look forward to hearing from you.