The Nature Friends program is for 4- or 5-year old children with an adult. Maximum group size of 20 child-adult teams. Programs are outside unless weather does not permit.
The Picnic, An Ecology Story Book by Chris Baines
What is a treasure? What are some of nature’s treasures you would like to find at this park today? Is trash a treasure? (No, we will be helping clean up the park by picking up any trash we find today.)
1. Un-nature Hike
Take a hike looking for garbage. *Suggestion: Have the kids find the trash, but the adults should pick it up. Provide gloves due to safety concerns.
2. Nature’s Treasure Hunt
Send parent/child teams out to discover natural items like nuts, leaves, animal homes, flowers, etc. Draw pictures of natural items or write the name on a piece of paper. The items should not be picked up, but left for the other participants to discover. Use your pencil, marker, or crayon to measure things you find.
Craft: Nature’s Treasure Magnet Picture Frame
- Send children out with adult to find a variety of items to glue on the picture frames. Rules: Needs to be something on the ground–not picked from a tree or plant. It should be no bigger than half the size of a pencil.
- After the group has found 5 to 10 items, have them arrange the items on their square picture frame. Then they can glue them down. (Make picture frames ahead of time out of craft sticks with magnets attached to the back.)
- If budget allows, a leader could take Polaroid photos of each child.
These photos can be put in the frames and displayed on their refrigerator. If a Polaroid camera is not available, ask the children to draw a picture of themselves to put in the frame or take photo on a mobile device and print back indoors.
Collection snack foods (treasures), i.e. fish crackers, gummy animal candy, or any other animal-shaped snack food.
Activities provided by:
Polk County Conservation Board
Nature Friends is funded by Polk County Conservation Board, West Des Moines Park and Recreation, and the Des Moines Chapter of the Izaak Walton League.