Each hunt contains 10 age appropriate activities, such as "build a tiny home with things from nature," and allows the child to really use his or her imagination and discover nature's treasures.
To get the free Nature Treasure Hunts and other information, visit The Nature Conservancy's website at http://my.nature.org/kids/
Take a trip to the Indian Boundary Prairies near Markham to hike, birdwatch, or just enjoy nature. For more, visit www.nature.org and search for Indian Boundary.
Tips from The Nature Conservancy:
1. Parents should be proactive in getting their children into nature and not just wait for the child to suggest it. Experts agree that children need outdoor play in all four seasons, not just during summer vacation, but they are not getting outdoors much.
- According to a recent nationwide poll of young people from The Nature Conservancy:
- 88 percent of America's youth spend time online every day.
- 69 percent said they play video games or watch TV every day.
- Conversely, just 11 percent reported regularly spending time outside every day.
2. When doing the Nature Treasure Hunt: Don't be too rigid: if the child begins to deviate from the hunt and use his/her imagination, this is helpful. "Unstructured" or "semi-structured" play is outstanding for a child's development.
3. The Conservancy's study shows that peer pressure is helpful in encouraging children to get outdoors into nature. Friends are among the most powerful influencers of getting kids off the couch.
4. Plan to get outdoors with your child routinely -- don't make it a one-time event.
5. Start a "Nature Journal" with your child: writing down observations of what plants and animals are around during each time in nature, what they're doing, how they look, etc. Eventually, your child will be able to understand how nature changes over time, sparking curiosity about how these changes occur.