How to Be a Nature Detective

Working as a nature detective is a fun activity for kids and adults too. It's a great way to spend time outdoors and learn about bugs, plants and animal life. Nature exploration can be done as a group activity or with single children. You can make up your own activities or find many printed and online sources to teach children how to be a nature detective.


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    Find online sources and books of activities to teach children how to be a nature detective. There are many educational sites and school websites with group activities that you can print out. Amazon and other book stores carry many books on nature that will assist with your efforts.
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    Gather together the materials you need for nature detective activities. Print out activity sheets and keep them in a waterproof folder or envelope. Get pencils and crayons for recording activities. Other supplies you may need include magnifying glasses, jars, plastic bags and tweezers for collecting specimens.
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    Find a park, field or backyard that has a variety of different grasses, trees, plants and soils.
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    Go over the activities with the children. If you are working with a group, have them separate into teams or work alone. Explain that they are nature detectives and that their job is to have a scavenger hunt to find and observe objects. They can look for specific things like a frog or a feather, or look for items that are the same color, shape or texture.
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    Give the children the activity sheets and a crayon or pencil. Tell them to check off items as they find them.
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    Meet with the children after a specified period of time. Go over the results. Ask questions about the things they found. Find out which of their senses they used when they observed the objects they found.
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    Show the children how to use a magnifying glass to find all the colors and details on bugs, rocks and other items. Use reference guides to look for specific features.
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    Have the children make rubbings of objects that they find. Lay a piece of paper over the item. Rub over it with a crayon or piece of chalk.
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    Lie down with the children and look up at the sky. Point out the different types of clouds and talk about the color of the sky. Look for shapes in the cloud formations.


  • Teach the children not to disturb natural habitats and clean up after themselves. Remind them that their job is to explore nature, not harm or take away from it. Do not kill or capture live insects or animals in your scavenger hunt and nature detective activities.
  • Use the nature detective activities to practice writing, spelling and reading. Spend extra time helping younger children write down the items they find and read from the books and activity sheets.

Things You'll Need

  • Books or activity sheets
  • Crayons
  • Pencils
  • Magnifying glass
  • Jars or plastic bags
  • Tweezers
  • Blankets

Article Info

Categories: Spying