What You Need:
- 2-3 large zip-top plastic bags
- Glass jar
- Aluminum foil
- Safety scissors
- Construction paper
- Hole puncher
- Elmer's glue
- Scotch tape
- Binoculars (optional)
What You Do:
- Tell your child that her mission is to find one object in nature for every letter of the alphabet. (For example, A=ant, B=bug, C=caterpillar, D=dandelion, etc.) Be sure that whatever your child finds can fit inside your plastic bag or, if it's a living insect, into the glass jar (you should cover the jar with a piece of aluminum foil, and poke a few holes in the foil so that the creature can get air). It may be difficult for your child to find objects that correlate with every letter (“z” and “x” are particularly challenging), so help your child. If she doesn't complete the entire alphabet, have no fear. Now you have an opportunity to introduce her to some new creatures, increasing her vocabulary. Talk with your child about some of the many things found in nature that start with difficult letters. A few we came up with are: xanthareel, xantus, zonure, and zemni.
- Spice this activity up by using binoculars to play "I Spy" by saying "I Spy, with my little eye, a caterpillar which starts with C!" This will help both your child's science observation skills and her reading/phonics skills by pointing out the first letter of each object's name.
- When you get back home, create a book using one page for each letter of the alphabet. Use scotch tape or glue to attach each object to the middle of the construction paper page. If it's a live insect, have your child draw an illustration of the animal on the page, or take a photograph and tape the image onto the page (after she is done with it, the insect should be released into the garden). Then use a pencil to write the object's name and one sentence to describe it. This could be about the object's color, size, shape, or where it lives. Here are two examples: "This is a green caterpillar we found on a leaf." "This acorn fell down from a tree." Let your child get in on the writing: allow her to write as much as she can herself.
- Be sure to label the top of each page with a capital letter. ("A" on acorn page, etc.)
- Arrange the pages in alphabetical order.
- Use a hole puncher to place 3 holes down the left side of each page. Then use safety scissors to cut 3 pieces of yarn about 6 inches long each. Use the yarn to tie all of the pages together into one book. If your objects are too thick, you may need to create 2 books, one for letters A-K, another for letters L-Z.
- Your child may also want to create a cover page for her book and a title such as "Jenny's ABC Nature Book."
Your child will love sharing her books with the rest of the family and sharing stories about what happened on her nature walk! This is a fun way to help her practice reading, science, and writing. So go enjoy the outdoors!