One year, I took Katie to Henry Cowell the first Sunday of every month and had her take pictures so she could see the seaons change month to month. It was a great exercise and helped her actually see how forests change based on daylight, rain, fog, and more.
This year, since we are officially “home schoolers”, I thought a romp through the park with some friends might be a good time for a nature-based scavenger hunt. I thought it would be easy – surely someone must have created a park-based scavenger hunt before and posted it somewhere. But darn if I could find one! So I had to do it myself.
Using pictures we had from past park visits, I can up with a set of items the kids had to find while we were on our nature walk. It’s funny, Katie is so used to me calling mushrooms fungus, but her friends weren’t used to the term. And I had no idea that finding a tree stump with 100 rings (minimum) would be so hard to find. We found stumps, but they wear in weather and the ability to see the actual rings is lost!
During our walk, we came up on a set of “burns” where inmates from not-sure-where were clearing brush and burning down the debris. It made the forest kind of mystical as the smoke lingered under the cloud cover. It also kind of warmed things up a bit.
The Visitor Center at the park is pretty good considering all the parks in California are completely broke (financially). We ended the hunt there where the kids could see examples of the flora and fauna found in the park and make “passports” with footprints of the local varmints.
We highly recommend Henry Cowell. It’s a great place to swim when it’s hot and explore when it’s cold and rainy. And if you are lucky, you’ll get to see some of their famous Banana Slugs during your visit!
You should be able to download our Scavenger Hunt form here if you want to have a place to start!
Home School POV: bring a camera. I made the kids take pictures of the items so they could look at them some more when we got home. They took all these except the one at the top. You know kids – they LOVE taking pictures!