Fun Friday activities are quick-and-simple ways to explore nature in your own backyard.
Match pieces of bark fallen from trees on our block with the trees they came from.
This activity comes from the playful mind of our family’s biggest explorer, the hubby. He and the explorers spent one evening collecting bits of bark that had fallen off of trees on our block. He taped each one to a piece of paper and told the big explorer he and I would need to “match” each one with the tree it came from on a future walk.
OUR NOTES FROM THE FIELD
Ever since our adventure exploring a tree in our front yard, the big explorer has been all about trees. So he was more than willing to whisk me out the door earlier this week to try to find each of the trees for which we had bark.
(Note: I purposely waited several days since dad had put the game together to give the big explorer time to “forget” which trees went with which pieces of bark. Worked like a charm.)
The big explorer decided we’d play follow the leader. The first piece of bark, he was convinced, belonged to the tree in our front yard. He rubbed the bark on our sheet, then compared it to the tree and told me to do the same. Then he checked it off our list and we moved along.
Next we found the tree for which we didn’t have bark, but a leaf instead. You’d think it would be hard to match a leaf to a tree, but it turns out there’s more variety among our neighborhood trees than I’d realized.
After our second match, we headed to the third tree. The big explorer was excited because the piece of bark we needed to match belonged to his favorite tree, his “sitting tree.” I was thrilled because this particular tree also has the loveliest lavender blooms. We sat together here for a while, he sitting in his special place and me admiring the beautiful flowers.
We continued searching and discovering like this until we had found a “match” for each of our pieces of bark. Along the way, we laughed and giggled about all things important in the 5-year-old world.
I’m always amazed at how easily we can talk when we’re playing outside. I’m so thankful for each of these magical moments with my little ones.
Sometimes it’s the simple favorites – like match game – that work wonders when taken outside. The big explorer is a huge fan of showing off his stellar memory, making this game a surefire hit. If you want to try it, why not:
- Add variety to the hunt? Instead of looking just for bark, you could add leaves, flowers or other tree parts to your match game. The more unique the items, the easier for little explorers to match them up to the right tree.
- Make it a little more challenging? Older kids could take this game one step further by identifying the tree by name. You may need a field guide or a computer for help, but you’ll learn even more about nearby nature.
MORE IDEAS FOR OUTDOOR FUN
This first week of summer has brought much outdoor fun back into our world. I hope summer has many such days in store for you! This weekend, why not:
- Water the plants with a sponge? Or better yet, play a game of sponge tag?
- Pick your own fruit? Try strawberries, cherries, peaches or whatever’s near you!
- Learn how to use a compass? (The big explorer certainly wants to!)
- Roar at the moon. It’ll be full on Saturday!
The point is to get outside and explore with your kids! I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned!