WINTER NATURE COLOR SORTING
Get the kids out and about on a nature scavenger hunt. We did ours towards the end of winter and went along on Sunday afternoon family outing to our local nature reserve in the foothills of our local mountain. I wasn't expecting to return with much variation; so I kept it open ended and simply gave the girls a basket each and asked them to collect as many different objects as they could find. At the stage, I hadn't really decided how we would use the collection. I thought we would wait to see what we found.
When we arrived, it was pretty clear that we were going to have to really keep our eyes open. As we wondered along the path, and into the forest; it became clear that this nature hunt was not going to be as easy as our summer garden scavenger hunt earlier in the year; mostly due to the lack of flowers in the forest.
The most obvious things to start with were the leaves. We prompted the girls to look for different types and colors as a good starting point. They soon found different shades of green, yellow, orange and brown. As they looked closer at the different leaves, they started to notice other treasures. Moss, twigs, ferns and bits of bark; mostly found amongst the leaf litter on the forest floor.
The track we most commonly do with the kids is a loop. It starts and finishes at the bottom of the reserve. The area at the bottom is absolutely full of huge rhododendron plants. In spring, when they are in full bloom, this is one of the most magical places. I can't wait to share that with you soon. This day, as we were returning, we were pleasantly surprised to find a few early rhododendron blooms to add to our collection; giving it some colors we certainly didn't expect to find.
When we returned home, the girls couldn't wait to have a nose at what they had found. Mostly because they really enjoy using their magnifying glasses. We tipped everything out on the table and sorted through, having a peek at all the different colors. It then struck me; lets do a color sort using the paint color swatches that I'd been saving from a recent visit to the hardware store.
While the girls were busy investigating their finds, I quickly got the swatches out, chose the sets that contained greens, browns, yellows, oranges, reds and pinks. I carefully cut out a selection that I felt best represented our scavenger hunt finds and simply asked the girls to match up a swatch with something from the collection. It was a really interested exercise as it was the first time we had properly discussed different shades of colors. We talked about light greens, dark browns and other shades in between. An extension for older kids could be to arrange in order of shade.
I think it's safe to say that we're slightly addicted to nature hunts now and can't wait to get back out into our garden when spring hits. There's a lot to be learned about looking real carefully for the beauty in nature...even in winter when you might, like me, not expect to find very much at all.