Discovery at Home: Discover Your Yard

Do you know what an explorer is? Can you think of any examples of an explorer? When we think about explorers, we most often think about people who travel the world and get curious about new people, places, things, and ideas. Explorers often have a mission in mind, and set out on an adventure to complete their mission. You can be an explorer where you live! Invite your grown up to join you on an exploration of an outside space near you – your backyard or lot nearest your home, and have fun exploring!

Activity 1: Imagine You’re a Tourist & Dress Up

Your first mission in exploring the space surrounding where you live is simple: Imagine you are a tourist! A tourist is someone who visits a place because they are curious about it. Put on a homemade explorer’s outfit, and go out into your yard or community with the hope of finding something new or exciting. What can you find in your home to wear?

Activity 2: Create & Add to Your Explorer’s Log

Grab a piece of paper or a notebook and create your very own Explorer’s Log. This is where you will keep a record of everything you discover during your backyard adventure.

  • Decorate it to give your Explorer’s Log its own personality.
  • Write down everything you notice around you! What do you see out there?
  • After you’ve explored every nook and cranny of the space, sit down to examine what you have recorded in your Explorer’s Log. What makes you curious?
  • Add your questions and curiosities to your Explorer’s Log.

Activity 3: Adventure On

Explorers don’t stop after they collect questions; they adventure onward to identify answers! For example:

  1. Did you wonder about the design of the space? Maybe you saw a fence, and you are wondering how someone builds a fence. What do you notice about the fence’s construction? What shapes are used? How does it stay in place? Can you design and build your own small fence with simple materials at home, like legos, blocks, or rocks outside?
  2. Maybe you saw small wildflowers. How might you figure out what kind they are? What can you design with those? Maybe you can use the flowers to decorate your Explorer’s Log. Can you make jewelry with the flowers, like making a flower chain necklace?
  3. A successful explorer always asks questions – and that might include talking with others. Are you still looking for answers to some of your adventure curiosities? Interview someone older than you who might be able to share new and exciting things about the history and science of the space you explored. Record this in your Explorer’s Log.
  4. You have been such a stellar explorer! What have you learned? Invite family members to take a tour of the space or share your Log. What can you show them? Dress up and take them on a new adventure! Are there things they wonder about that surprise you?

Activity 4: Adventure On with Play

One of the most powerful ways to learn and explore is to PLAY! Try out some new ways to play in your yard space. Write down what you learn through your play in your Explorer’s Log. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Skygaze – Lie on the grass, or ask your grown up for a blanket to put down. Look up at the sky. What do you notice? Is it blue? Is the sun bright? Is it cloudy? Do you see shapes in the clouds? Write down your observations and your curiosities in your Explorer’s Log.
  • Go on a color walk – Write down all the colors of the rainbow in your Explorer’s Log. Talk a slow walk around your backyard, and make notes each time you see one of the ROYGBIV colors! What color do you see the most in your yard? Are there any colors missing? Can you find the full rainbow of colors?
  • Build a fort – Create your own Explorer’s Station by building your own fort! What materials can you find? Will you use only materials you find outside, or will you go back inside to get some materials?
  • Build a fairy house – There are legends that say that FAIRIES live in nature! What if fairies lived in your yard? Create a house for them!
  • Make art with found materials – What materials can you collect from your yard space? Unleash your inner artist and create your own masterpiece with found materials. What art will you create?