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Become a Backyard Investigator
Type: Outdoor   Skills: Language & LiteracyScience & Environment
Young children are naturally curious and ready to learn. When kids are exploring and investigating, they’re discovering how things work and how things relate to each other. One of the greatest things you can do for your child is to encourage those natural investigative instincts. There are many ways you can encourage your child to become an investigator. Your backyard can be a great place to start! Become a Backyard Investigator
What We Learn
Nature awareness
Observation skills
Supply List
Magnifying glass
To turn your children into backyard investigators, all you really need is a bag and your child’s natural curiosity. Simply provide your child with a bag and go outside with them and investigate. You can explore the flowers, trees and insects in your own backyard. If you don’t have a backyard, you can walk to a nearby park, nature trail or beach.

While outside investigating, collect items to place in your bag for further investigation later. Every week, you can pick a different theme, such as, “Today, let’s find objects in nature which are smooth.”

When you return home, you can continue your investigation further. You can place the items all on a tray or table and have your child sort through and categorize the items he or she collected in the bag. You can provide a magnifying glass so that your child can get an even closer view. Allow plenty of time for your child to explore the item not only by sight, but also by touch and smell.

Discuss with your child what he or she has found. Describe its qualities. Remember to ask open-ended questions. Perhaps you can even start a journal with your child where your child begins taking notes on the items you have found.

After you’ve identified a plant or flower, you can extend the activity further by getting seeds and planting the seeds and observing its growth over the course of several weeks.

Remember, nature is all around us – literally right outside our door. An activity like this will make your children more aware of their surroundings and teach them not to take nature for granted.
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