Life Lab

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

Family Walk

Family Walks

Easy low-prep ideas to get kids out exploring nature on a walk. Ages 2+, 15 min+

Family walks have become a daily occurrence for us recently and we have found some creative ways to explore our natural surroundings. Giving kids a sense of purpose or just something fun helps us get out the door!  Some of the ideas listed below require a little preparation while others you can do more on-the-spot.  Some of our favorites include:

The Unnatural Hike

Before heading out, secretly gather 10 or so small items that are man-made or unnatural (things like pennies, pens, little plastic toys, etc) and keep them hidden from the children.  Find an area where you will go on your walk and place the objects along the path or in an area with boundaries without them seeing where you placed the objects.  Then tell the kids that you have placed some unnatural things along the path and it is their job to use their observation skills and count in their head how many unnatural things they think are on the path without sharing yet. If you’re working with younger kids, you may want to give an example such as, “Is this leaf unnatural? No, it’s made in nature so I would NOT count that, but I would count this pen.” Remind the kids not to pick up the items but just to count them in their head and when they think they have found all of them, come back and tell you.  Once all the kids have shared, walk together and find and pick-up each unnatural object.  Compare who was able to get closest to the actual number of objects!  You could play this again with kids taking turns placing the unnatural objects or doing the same thing in a different location.

Groups of 2, Groups of 3

This hike doesn’t require any preparation, just challenge your kids to find anything in nature as they are walking that exists in groups of 2.  For example, we found seedlings emerging with two leaves (a dicot), a butterfly with 2 wings, a bug with 2 antennae etc.   You can also change the number and have kids look for groups of 3, or 5 and then discuss what you find. What was easier to find and why do you think that? Did you notice any patterns about the things that are in groups of 2, groups of 3?  What advantage does that give something in nature? 

What would ______ like? 

This hike inspires imagination and is especially good for younger children who are learning about empathy.  Tell your child to think about either someone or something special such as a stuffed animal or toy.  As you walk today, you are going to look for things that their special thing or person would like or could use.  This makes the child look for different things on your walk that they might not notice. My daughter loves her stuffed cat named Tasha and as we walked she found flowers that were orange, grass that was long and a really pretty rock with sparkles in it that Tasha would love! Ask your child, why would _______ like that? What could they use it for? 

Letters and Shapes

As we walked down a dirt path recently, my daughter shouted out, “There’s a Y!” and indeed the path split off and looked just like the letter “Y.”  This started our game of looking for other letters and shapes as we walked.  We found the letter “L” on a branch, a circle on the end of a fence post, and rocks that had a triangle shape.  Sometimes I would see something ahead and challenge her to find it while giving some clues like, “I see a letter that is a vowel on the path ahead,” or sometimes we just left it open to see what we could see!

Comments are closed.

follow us on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Become a Life Lab Certified Gardener! 🌱🌻Based on the success of our first four cohorts of Life Lab-Certified Garden Educators, we are excited to announce that registration is now open for individuals to register and be part of our fifth cohort starting January 23rd, 2023! We’ve put together a series of 4 on-line courses that will guide and support educators in becoming a Life Lab-Certified School Garden Educator. Upon successful completion of the 4 courses, participants will receive a certificate and the distinction of being a Life Lab-Certified Garden Educator. Each course will last 4 weeks long and include 4 synchronous meetings, at-home work, and a unique coaching model. The total commitment for the full series is 16 weeks. Check out our website for more information! Registration for the full certification series is now open. Please share with others who are looking for ideas and inspiration in the garden! There are 24 spots available and we sold out in our last 4 certification series. We hope you can join us!Life Lab offers a limited number of course fee reductions based on need and anticipated impact. To apply for financial assistance, follow the link below. Scholarship applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis between now and December 1st, 2022 or until all funds have been awarded.

See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

2 months ago

Life Lab

Thanks Shmuel! and all those that joined the Starlight workday.

See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

7 months ago

Life Lab

www.lifelab.org/jobs Full-time Bilingual Garden Educators at PVUSD School Gardens and Summer Program Staff at Garden Classroom on UCSC Farm

See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

7 months ago

Life Lab

Full-time Career and Summer Staff Positions in @pajarovalleyusd school gardens and the Life Lab Garden Classroom. On the @ucscagroecology farm @ucsc @pvusdschoolfood lifeLab.org/jobs

See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

7 months ago

Life Lab

We are so glad to be a part of this year’s Growing School Gardens Summit! 415 attendees from 45 states across the US, representing 6,000+ school gardens serving more than 2.5 million students. Here we go!!

See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

9 months ago

Life Lab

Rainbow Chips 📗🌱📙🍊📕🍅In this lesson students introduce themselves, create group agreements, listen to a story about a rainbow, and then go on a search for different colors in order to begin to form a personal connection with the #gardenclassroom .Also, we just wanted to show this really awesome squash gradience 😄#gardenbasededucation #NGSS #scienceinthegarden #schoolgarden #NGSGintheGarden

See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

9 months ago

Life Lab

Food Factories 🍅🥗😋In this lesson, students find leaves with holes in them and then construct explanations for what might havecaused those holes. They listen to a story book and add further possible explanations for the holes. Thenthey explore the garden to prepare to engage in argument from evidence about which explanation for these holes seems the most plausible. Finally, they relate this concept to plants that humans eat.#NGSGintheGarden #NGSS #gardenbasededucation

See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Stock up your Garden Classroom

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
Translate »
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial