Have your kids been collecting natural treasures all summer? My kids have collected shells (from two beaches and the playground sand), rocks, seed pods from the park, acorns, nuts and seeds, even foreign currency they found washed up on the shore. And every time we go outside, they collect plumeria flowers from the ground and bring them upstairs. If we were home, I know we'd have pinecones from Grandpa's yard and dandelions from our lawn.
Maggie and I had painted some of the rocks to look like animals – a white one with black spots, a red one with black spots, a yellow one with black strips, and a very fancy one painted to look like a kingfisher. All these things were just sitting in containers in a cupboard.
I collected everything the kids had saved, including our painted rocks, and put it in a clear plastic bin (the same one we use for our sensory boxes). Then, I just let the kids play!
Dalton soon discovered the wonderful shaky noise the seed pods make. He had great fun digging through the piles of shells and sorting out the rocks.
Then we played a memory game! Since the shells can break and have sharp edges, and everything else was a choking hazard, I played this with her while Dalton dug in the nature treasure box.
If your kids have been collecting nature items this summer, this nature activity is quick to prepare, and will put to use all those collected items just lying around. We got to enjoy our memories of collecting them, and had a little learning as well.