Outdoor Nature Play and the Curriculum

What I Found in Nature – Paper Bag Scavenger Hunt

Fitting the curriculum in to outdoor play can be as easy as a scavenger hunt. 

Scavenger hunts are awesome fun for children of all ages, but this nature scavenger hunt has been designed specifically with younger kids in mind. 

You simply create a book from paper bags that children can store their discovered treasures in, instead of in their pockets or their shoes! This is a great activity to complete in groups or pairs and encourages communication and connectedness. 

Depending upon the age of the children, you can either draw the objects on the bag for them, or let the children draw and write what they find and store inside each bag once they have finished their nature exploring.  I would recommend brainstorming the list together to involve the children in every aspect of the process. 

For older children you can then return to the classroom to complete classification activities including sorting, creating tables, discussions and observations. Or for more outdoor engagement complete the classifications outdoors using large mats. 

Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things (ACSSU044) 

Create displays of data using lists, table and picture graphs and interpret them (ACMSP050) 

The idea is easily adapted for a range of outdoor environments too – you can make a paper bag treasure book for exploring a school playground, a nature playground (if you are luckily enough to have one), a park or on a hike through the bush or forest. 

You will need: 

  • Brown paper lunch bags 
  • Stapler or large clip 
  • Permanent marker 
  • Optional: tape 

You may be surprised at what inspires and excites your students in their everyday surrounds!

Sarah McGowan is Nature Play WA’s Learning and Engagement Manager.  You can read Sarah’s bio here.

Want to bring more nature play to your school or early learning  centre?  Check out our Professional Learning opportunities and let us know how we can help.

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