Tracking is such a fun way to find out what wild animals live around you! Winter is the best time for this. We can look for track size, shape, pattern, claw marks, and so many other things that tell us what animals have come to visit!
You can use this scavenger hunt to get you started; there is lots of help on-line and libraries have great books about animal tracks.
Use this Discovery Sheet to learn about spiders! Try to get a BINGO by completing a row horizontally, a column vertically, or a line diagonally! Have fun! This one is best done in the warmest months (June to September), but you can find spiders at any time of the year.
Use this Discovery Sheet to identify insects and other invertebrates that you find! Try to get a BINGO with a row across, a column down, or a line diagonally! You can look anywhere for these animals, including in long grass and under things (don’t forget to put these “roofs” on their homes). Also don’t forget to let these “bugs” go after catching and identifying them! Have fun! It’s easiest to find lots of bugs during our warmest months (June to September), but some can be found at other times of year.
Older kids might want a challenge of the second page for classifying the different groups of invertebrates.
There are many wild things living in every back yard, and exploring them lets you know about these amazing neighbours. Use these scavenger hunts to explore your own back yard and find out who your wild neighbours are. Every back yard is different, so if there’s something in the scavenger hunt that doesn’t live in yours, you can substitute for it with something else that is amazing! Have fun!
Turn over a log, a board, almost anything out in nature, and you never know what you’ll find! There is a whole community of living things that lives in this dark “underworld.” Lots of them (like mushrooms, sowbugs, worms and millipedes) help us all by “eating” wood and leaves and turning it all back into soil. They are nature’s recycling team! Don’t forget to put whatever you turn over back exactly the way it was – it’s like the roof of someone’s home!
In winter, many birds (and a few furry animals) can be found in back yards, especially if you have a bird feeder. When spring comes, many of our winter birds stay here, but some migrate north (like Juncos and Tree Sparrows). Male Goldfinches change from being fairly dull-coloured in winter to brilliant gold in spring. Check out some of our backyard winter birds; most of them can still be seen in spring, then take a look at some of our most common spring backyard birds (coming soon). How many can you find?
Trees are amazing! They are huge, they live a long time, and they give us SO much! We make so many things from trees, like paper, wood for building, pencils, and so much more! But living trees give us a lot, too. Oxygen, clean air, shade, shelter, beauty are just a few things that living give us. Trees even help our fight against climate change by breathing in a LOT of carbon dioxide! How great is that!
This scavenger hunt is designed to help you have fun with and learn about trees. It can even be done in a back yard or neighbourhood park that has at least a few trees in it. Of course, it can also be done in a forest. Have fun!
Worms are amazing creatures! You can build a worm condo: just cut (carefully) the top few centimetres off of a 2 litre pop bottle, poke a couple of holes in the bottom for drainage, add a lid and a tray, then some soil. (or you can use another container made of plastic or glass. Add a few worms from your back yard. You’ve got pet worms! Worms don’t like light, so put the worm condo in a dark place, then sneak up on it with a flashlight or bring it into the light to see the worms at work. Of course, don’t forget to add a little bit of water every week or so (not too much), and let the worms go before it gets too cold outside. Try burying compost like an apple core in the soil, then check on it to see how fast the worms eat it.
Did you know: Earthworms have no lungs – their body absorbs oxygen through their wet skin. In Australia, the giant Gippsland earthworm can grow to a length of 2 metres! Earthworms have tiny bristles called setae which anchor them in the ground. Earthworms are an important food source for many animals, including moles, who can eat up to 50 in a single day!
Especially in fall, leaves are amazing! Many of them turn to amazing colours, yellow, orange, purple or red before they fall to give this season its name. Here’s a fun scavenger hunt to learn more about his amazing season.