Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.

Card Hike

Card Hike

Send kids out on a hike to complete fun, nature-inspired tasks along the way. Ages 2+, 15 min+


Sometimes our kids need a little extra motivation to get out and get hiking and this is a great activity to add a little spark.  Before we head out, I make some cards ahead of time on 3 x 5 index cards or just on slips of heavy paper with questions or challenges.  Some great examples include: 

  • Listen for three human-made sounds. 
  • Listen for three sounds not made by humans. 
  • Look for three different animal homes. Who lives in them? 
  • Hot and thirsty? Find a drop of water.
  • Should we build a restaurant here so that you can buy lunch? How would a restaurant change this place? 
  • Smell five things before going to the next card.
  • Run/hop/skip/gallop to the next card. 
  • Who do you think lives in this hole? 
  • Use your hand to find something that feels cooler than your skin. 
  • Find a seed. 
  • What do you think was here 50 years ago? 
  • Find something that feels rough. 
  • Sway like a tree.
  • Give a plant 3 compliments.
  • Feel this.


If you have the space you can set up the cards along a path or throughout your garden ahead of time.  Use pebbles or rocks to hold down the cards if it’s windy and place the cards in obvious places.  You can also include arrow cards or draw arrows with chalk if needed to guide kids along the way.  A different way to set this up is by holding a stack of the cards as you hike and periodically stopping and reading a card.  I fanned the cards out and had my children take turns picking a card and completing the task and then put that card at the bottom of the stack.  This activity was also a great way for my 1st grader to practice his reading while outside.  Bonus!

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Life Lab provides truly inspiring training. Their breadth of experience, joy for teaching, and commitment to sharing knowledge highlight the best practices in food and garden education.
Erica CurryTraining and Professional Development ManagerFoodCorps
Thank you for such a wonderful field trip experience! Your leaders did such a great job at keeping our kids engaged.
Sheila BrickenKindergarten TeacherSan Lorenzo Valley Elementary
Terry had another awesome two weeks at Life Lab. I think he learns more there than in any other part of his year. School is great, but he’s passionate (and often dogmatic) about what he learns there.
Tara NeierCamp ParentSummer camp mom
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