STEM Concepts: Science (nature, collecting data), Technology (the natural world), Math (counting, patterns)
Materials: Leaves, sticks, construction paper, and glue.
What to do: Go on a nature walk with your child. This could be at a park, around the playground, or in your own neighborhood. Let her explore the world around her. Encourage her to touch leaves, pick up sticks, watch bugs crawl around, and smell flowers.
As you and your child explore, have him begin to collect leaves and sticks. These should be leaves and sticks that have already fallen off of trees. As he picks up each stick or leaf, count with him how many sticks and leaves he has.
After your walk, spread out all the sticks and leaves and lay out a piece of construction paper and have glue handy. Encourage your child to lay out the sticks and leaves in a pattern, such as one leaf, one stick, one leaf, one stick, etc. Once she has a pattern, help her glue it down by putting dots of glue on the stick or leaf and letting her help put the leaf or stick down onto the paper.
Language and Communication: Encourage your child to count along with you as you walk to teach numbers and early counting skills.
When making the pattern craft, say the pattern out loud. For example, as your child lays out the items she has collected, say “One leaf, two sticks, one leaf, two sticks”.
Ask questions during your walk about the world around you to help encourage conversation about what your child is observing. Some examples include, “What are the bugs doing?” What do you think that is?” And, “What do you see?”
Expand the Activity: Go on weekly nature walks. The outdoors changes constantly, so there may be something new to discover next week!
Provide markers or crayons for your child to draw on his construction paper after gluing down the items from the walk.
Talk about textures such as soft, rough, bumpy, and smooth as you touch items in nature.