Our Aussie Scavenger Hunt is a brilliant excuse to get out and enjoy the beautiful Australian sunshine. It’s a blast for the kids that is also packed full of educational goodness. Think of it like the hidden veggies in a delicious sauce. Read on to find out more about the benefits of exploration play, or find the PDF link at the bottom of the page and let the adventure begin!
So, those hidden “veggies”. What are they? By using a resource sheet which pairs words, images and real world objects you are building the early literacy skills necessary for future bookworms. Literacy isn’t limited to letters and words. Symbols, images, and the understanding that a picture or word represents something external is a foundation concept for the development of reading skills.
Secondly, the visual processing necessary for this type of investigation is a great way to flex the brain power of little ones. As well as practising how to use their senses and motor skills, their brains need to process all of the visual information and then send feedback on ‘targets’. For example, if they are looking for a bird, they are processing information on the target (Where should I look? What are the features that indicate an animal is a bird?) as well as what they see (That’s a tree, that’s a rock, that’s something I have never seen before but it has no feathers) So much simultaneous processing goes on in order to pair that word on paper with a real life target.
Another hidden talent of this activity is the encouragement of independence. With a bit of guidance in the beginning, children have the option to take the lead. They can reference the images (or for older children, words) on their own, rather than waiting on an adult before moving forward. Consider your role as more of a compass than a one route GPS, but don’t get too caught up in adult world! If your child is searching for even more sticks after they have found the first one, brilliant! They are directing their own research on the world around them.
Speaking of which, how often do we walk past the same places assuming that our children know the things we do. Like the knowledge that gumnuts fall from trees. How do we know this ourselves? Could this be your childs’ first encounter with an ant crawling on a blade of grass? This may seem like a minor discovery, but it is the hundreds and thousands of small discoveries that your child makes in their daily life which eventually form the knowledge bank of an adult. More exploration opportunities = more puzzle pieces fall into place about how the world works.
So click the document link and print a copy, or write a list for your very own scavenger hunt. Laminate the page and use a whiteboard marker to re-use over and over. It’s a great resource to keep in the car to explore new parks (or your backyard!). Alternatively, you can visit this page on your smartphone and view the list without using up any paper.
Click here for PDF – Aussie Scavenger Hunt