I recently attended a Train the Trainer session for Project Learning Tree. It's a nature curriculum to engage children in outdoor activities and experiences. For the training, we were able to do some of the activities we would later be able to do with our children. We began with a Shape Hunt. When we arrived we were instructed to take one of each of the shapes provided and with a straw section between each shape, place them on a yarn necklace.
We went outside and were instructed to see if we could find things outdoors and in nature shaped like the images on our shape necklace.
We successfully were able to find all the shapes we had on our necklaces.
We just began a unit on Trees and Tree Homes so I decided to incorporate the Shape Hunt into the study to encourage the children to look more closely at their surroundings. When they arrived I had the provocation set up to entice them to come over and create their own shape necklace. I chose to use a neutral color for all the shapes and straw sections in shades of green with brown yarn. I wanted to highlight the shapes by placing them in wooden receptacles. My goal in using these colors and display materials was to keep things neutral and natural.
The provocation worked as each child readily began stringing their shapes onto the yarn necklace. As they were stringing, they were identifying the shapes.
We divided the class into three groups of seven children in each group and they began searching. Some items found were man-made, while others were items in nature.
Even children who normally aren't eager to participate, were looking around and identifying shapes around them. We returned to our playground and they continued identifying shapes. Several even carried the activity to their home and did shape hunts with their families. What a great way to pair up shape identification with the great outdoors.
Project Learning Tree has been around for a long time and is a great way to engage children and nature. Now that I have been trained, I'm able to conduct trainings myself and plan to do so in the future.