Nature Treasure Hunt
Most often, when we think about 'treasure' hunts, we limit the objective to finding the 'prize' at the end. But a treasure hunt can be so much more. It strengthens problem solving and team building skills while encouraging children to think about a concept in a different way. In fact, a great way to celebrate nature, learn about the animal and plant life in your area, and put children in charge of their own learning is to design a nature treasure hunt. For younger children, provide pictures of natural objects they should find. Before heading outside, discuss where might be the best place to find each of the objects. Set a time limit and see how many items each student or group of students can find before returning to the class. Have them carry a brown grocery sack to keep their 'treasure'. Back in the classroom, discuss if the objects were found where expected, compare each groups' finds for similarities and variations, sort objects based on different criteria (e.g. living vs. nonliving, etc.), and any other activities you deem appropriate.
For older children, you may choose to give clues for the objects students need to find or just let them decide what items to collect on their own based on an overarching theme.