ROCK HUNT: Head out with a grown up or sibling. Look for any interesting rocks. Sketch it out or take a picture. Complete the rock hunt worksheet.
Tie-ins with this Summer’s Curriculum:
Nature Yoga ADDED 4/3/20 (need Pads or a flat space where kids can comfortably sit on their knees)
Adapted from Christie Burnett, “Yoga for Kids: A Walk through the Garden,” Childhood101, https://childhood101.com/yoga-for-kids-a-walk-through-the-garden/
- Invite campers to arrange themselves in a circle and tell them that they will be using stretching, deep breathing, and their imagination to transform themselves into nature.
- Encourage campers to pretend to be any of the following plants or animals while doing the following poses:
Tree: Campers stand on one leg while placing the other foot on their knee. Tell them to sway gently and think of what it would be like to be a tree. Repeat for a few breaths and switch legs.
Frog: Campers move into a squat with knees shoulder-width apart and hands folded and resting between knees. Bounce up and down like a frog.
Seed (aka Child’s Pose): Campers sit on their heels and lean forward to their knees, bringing the forehead down to the floor and extending arms backward toward the feet.
Butterfly: Campers sit on their bottoms, keeping the back straight. Then have them bend their legs outward keeping the soles of the feet together and flap their legs up and down as if they were wings.
Cat-Cow: Kneeling on all fours, campers oscillate between a sagging back (cow) and an arched back (cat). Have fun with it and have the campers moo with a sagging back and meow when arched.
- Ask campers what the activity was like for them, how it felt. This is likely a new activity for many of them. Do they have any insights about the thing they were pretending to be?
- To close, make the point that humans are already a part of nature. Invite them to think about who their friends or companions in nature are: What animals and plants do they share their living space with (home, yard, neighborhood)?
I Spy with Mary and Elizabeth ADDED 4/2/20 (need a Bible)
- Explain the concept of the game I Spy. In this version, campers are asked to play I Spy from the perspective of the characters in today’s Bible reading: Mary, Elizabeth, an angel. The game can be played as individuals, in teams of two or three, or as a large group.
- Reread the text from Luke 1:26-38, 46-55. Ask campers to imagine how Mary and Elizabeth, both expecting a baby, might see the world similarly, but also how they might see the world differently.
- Then have the campers quietly observe their surroundings or walk around briefly, or you can draw a circle in the dirt. Then play I Spy with campers “spying” small bits of nature within the circle or natural items found within a larger playing area.
- Have each camper take a turn saying, “I spy with my little eye . . .” The chosen object must be visible to everyone. The other campers take turns asking questions until they land upon the correct answer. I Spy-type statements might include the following:
- new life about to burst forth
- something old (a rock, for example)
- something scary
- something surprising
- something that gives them joy
- After the game, find out what the Elizabeths and Marys noticed or missed.
- What natural things did almost everyone notice?
- Who found or saw something that others missed, maybe something rare or hard to spot, and what was it?
- Conclude by discussing how our perspective shapes what we see in our environment and what we miss completely.
Beatitudes of “Nasty” Nature ADDED 4/1/20 (need paper, pens)
- Read the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 or Luke 6 and invite campers to briefly discuss how the Beatitudes are an example of something that is unexpected. Then invite them to think about how creation is filled with animals and plants that help us and other life forms in unexpected ways:
- Insects that pollinate or decompose food.
- Pigs and plants that consume compost.
- Sheep that provide wool for clothing.
- Snakes that maintain the rodent population.
- Explain that even plants and animals that we might not “like” have a vital part in our ecosystem, and it is our responsibility as caretakers of God’s creation to protect them even if we might not personally be drawn to them.
- Have the campers come up with at least five creatures that are commonly considered to be “gross” and why they should be considered blessings and how they are important in our ecosystems.
Parts of a Promise Flower ADDED 3/31/20 (need paper, and colored markers or pens)
- Have kids draw a basic flower shape to fill the sheet of paper, including the flower head (blossom), stem, leaves, and roots. Have them leave the center of the flower blank, for now. Then review the four basic parts of a flower, as listed below, weaving in the theme of God’s promised faithfulness and love from generation to generation.
- God promised people a place to live, and this is symbolized by the roots that live in the dirt and provide stability and nutrients for the plant. Have campers draw or write at the root of the plant descriptions of things that represent the place they live and that give them stability. (For example: home, family, food.)
- God also promised us a purpose to live out, which is symbolized by the stem, which holds the flower upright and carries nutrients from the roots to other parts of the plant. Have campers draw or write along the stem of the plant the things that they do to support God’s loving purposes.
- God’s promise of blessing is symbolized by the leaves. Leaves are where light from the sun meets water and carbon dioxide from the plant (photosynthesis). It provides the essential food the plant needs to survive and grow. Have campers draw or write on the leaves of the plant things that represent God’s blessings in their lives.
- Finally, invite children to draw their face in the circular or top part of the flower. Flowers are important for making seeds for the next generation of plants. God’s promise of love and faithfulness continues through us from generation to generation.
Nature Walk ADDED 3/30/20
- Take kids on a nature hike and invite them to use their senses as much as possible.
- Have everyone hike in silence for a few minutes to listen to creation, to view the different sights, smell trees and flowers, and even taste something, if it is safe to eat.
- Have them pay special attention to the plants on the hike and the differences between them. Explain that while all plants will have some differences, they all get their energy from the sun and take the carbon dioxide in the air to produce oxygen that we breathe.
- Explain the cycle of energy and how humans can get energy from plants directly or from eating herbivores, who ate the plant directly, or carnivores, who ate the herbivore.
- In God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah, God promised a place to live. Plants make our world livable and without them we would die. Talk about what campers are doing to take care of plants and the environment to protect the promise that God made to us, keeping the place we live as God’s beautiful creation.
Nature Walk Extravaganza ADDED 3/25/20
Get outside! Go to a nearby park or other outdoor space and then do these things:
- Make an art project: Find interesting pieces of nature that catch your attention (small sticks, leaves, pebbles, etc.) and collect them during your walk (be mindful of not disturbing animal habitats. Please only pick things up from the ground, not off of living plants!) At some point, stop and create an art piece together on the ground, using only the objects you’ve collected, If you’d like, take two sticks home with you and use some yarn/string to create a God’s Eye! (There are many instructional videos for God’s Eyes on YouTube or you can check out our craft activities which has instructions, too.
- When you stop for a water break: count how many individual sounds you can hear. Talk with your walking companions, how many sounds do you hear collectively?
- Along the walk: Count how many different animal and plant species you encounter. If you don’t know what they are, take a picture, and try to look them up when you return home
FROM LEAVE NO TRACE: ADDED 3/23/20
Five Pieces of Nature:Have child go outside and choose 5 pieces of nature that represent them and then share the nature objects and how it represents them.
Nature Sounds: ADDED 3/17/20 Go to a quiet area outside. Have kids spread out and find a place to sit and relax. Have kids sit quietly and listen to the sounds heard in nature. After a bit of time bring them back together and discuss sounds they heard. See if they can identify specific bird or insect sounds. This can be done during the day or the night.
Object Pass Around: ADDED 3/18/20 Invite campers to sit in a circle. Give each person a blindfold, and ask them to cover their eyes. Pass different objects around the circle (a pencil, a twig, a rock, a feather, and so forth). Tell campers to touch each object, but not to say what they think the object is. After everyone has had a chance to feel one of the objects, hide it in a bag. Ask the campers to describe the object, then name the object. Pull the object out of the bag and show it to the group. Repeat the process with a new object. Try four or five different objects.
It’s Bingo, Naturally! ADDED 3/19/20 Split campers into small groups (3-4) and give each group a nature bingo card. Go on a nature hike and remind campers to keep their eyes and ears open for the things listed on their bingo cards. The first group to get nature bingo wins. Ask campers to describe to the group the objects they found to get bingo. If camper group is small allow campers to work individually. Place an X over items when you see them. You can win by going diagonally, vertical, horizontal, or a postage stamp in the top right corner.
|Stag||Red Oak||Skunk||White Pine|
|Turtle||Birch Tree|| |
|Daisy||Deer Track||Pin Oak||Snake|
Nature Squares: ADDED 3/20/20 Have campers work in pairs. Each pair needs to think of an object or creature from nature to fill in their square. Share answers and see how many different things the campers can think of. You’ll need pencils, piece of paper with nature square for each person or pair. On signal, players fill in the spaces with names of flowers, trees, birds, etc. The names on each line must start with the letter shown on the left. At the end of ten minutes, time is called. Score one point for each correct name. Score two points for each unusual name not selected by any other player. Variation: Could omit one or two suggested headings, could change nature subjects to man-made subjects such as furniture, tools, streets, buildings, etc.