We love being outside.
My kids are always outside exploring, playing, creating, and most definitely learning.
The other day Sam, who is 4 years old, went on a nature walk scavenger hunt.
This particular scavenger hunt had a math focus. We are working on one-to-one correspondence.
I am a teacher, and a Kindergarten teacher at that, so I know first hand the importance of this skill.
One-to-one correspondence is the ability to count one object with one number.
So to see 5 cheerios on the counter and to count them – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Sounds simple – but to little ones it can be very tricky!
Since we love being outside, I decided we would make a nature walk all about this one-to-one correspondence skill we are working on.
We have many trees on our property, and many have already started to turn colour for the Fall.
We have lots of pretty red, orange, and yellow leaves already to play and create with. AND to count with.
Sam is 4, and quite a good counter, so I wanted to make this scavenger hunt a bit trickier than simply collecting and counting leaves.
Since we have many different plants and trees on our property we made a scavenger hunt for finding and counting ‘points’ on leaves. We tried to find a leaf with only one point, one with two, and so on.
Sam LOVES a challenge. He always smiles whenever I tell him I have an idea for an activity, and he was as eager as usual with this one.
We began by writing numbers on our porch. I did 1-8 in numerals, but come to think of it I likely should have also written the number word in chalk. Just to expose and introduce Sam to the number words. But alas I did not, my poor deprived Sam.
Anyways, we then set off to find some leaves.
Sam started in order, searching for a leaf with only one point. He quickly found it, and then we also quickly realized we would need to use rocks to keep our leaves from blowing away.
After we got to number 3 Sam started to pick up any leaves he saw, count the points, and place them where they belonged next to their chalk numbers. Made no difference, really, he was still practicing that one-to-one correspondence skill like a champ!
If you love this nature hunt scavenger hunt idea, check out these 32 scavenger hunt ideas for kids. You’ll love the learning ones!
About halfway through this scavenger hunt we took a break when a discovery was made. Sam ran to me with his hands cupped asking me to guess what he found. Truth be told, as much as I am a nature-loving Mama, I always, always cringe when this happens. You just never know what might be in those cupped hands.
But this time, it was a really neat discovery, a leaf bug! Sam counted the legs as ‘points’ of a leaf, but this little leaf bug did not want to sit next to it’s chalk number. After a few attempts to persuade it to stay, it escaped and our scavenger hunt continued.
Activities like this often take us awhile. Sometimes we get half way through and then stop altogether. I choose to not push through activities with my little ones. They are still so young and have so much energy. By following their leads on activities I am able to make sure learning is actually taking place. Learning really happens when little ones are engaged in what they are doing.
After our leaf bug half-time show Sam was ready to get back to his scavenger hunt, and we did successfully find leaves for each number. But even if we had just done a few numbers he would have practiced one-to-one correspondence many times.
And sometimes less is more. Like less surprise insects. Yes, once in awhile it’s lovely, but I don’t think I could handle daily cupped hands being waved in my face.
When we were done Sam was as proud as he could be. He successfully completed his scavenger hunt, found a very cool bug, and did lots of counting. All while outside exploring on a nature walk!
For more nature scavenger hunts to go on:
- Explore Textures on an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
- Nature Scavenger Hunt That’s Perfect for Young Kids
- Free Printable for an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt for Kids
More move and learn ideas:
- Ghost Counting Game from The Pleasantest Thing
- Alphabet Soup at Coffee Cups & Crayons
- Pumpkin Shape Movement Game at Toddler Approved
- See all our Move & Learn Activities