How well does your toddler or preschooler know their natural surroundings? How well do they know the plants, flowers, rocks and trees in their own yard? As our youth loses more and more of their free outdoor play time they are also losing their sense of place, their connection to their own backyard.
Even though we spend a ton of our time outside in our own yard I will still curious how well Sam would recognize or be able to find certain features. So, I developed a test for her, disguising it as a game.
She had a blast with it! It did take her more than one walk around the house to be able to find them, but in the end she got them all.
Super simple to make - take pictures of different things around your yard, print the pictures, cut them out and laminate them. I didn't want to pay for lamination and am just too lazy to go across town to the copy center so I used packing tape!
The Nitty Gritty!
With older kids I would have much less background in the picture so that they had to find a specific item and could not use the surrounding clues. It would also be interesting to take out of season pictures (like pictures from spring/summer) and test them on where those items are in another season (say in the fall/winter).
For younger kids (Sam is three and had no trouble with this activity) I would do just the opposite. Focus on bigger features of your yard and include some background clues.
A sad thing happened to Sam today. While we were out running around the yard to find all of the pictures she suddenly stopped and screamed "my sculpture!". You may remember the backyard sculpting that Sam had been doing.
Well, the sculpture is gone! The neighbors thought they were cleaning up, I guess. But their mess was Sam's art and she was devastated. She actually cried. I tried to get excited about the idea of building a new one but she walked away and said "no thanks mom". It broke my heart. Hoping we can make another one and let the neighbors know about it so they don't clean it up.