Just ask the kids to find two cool things.
I did this with a small group of Kindergarten and First Graders and
was amazed by the results.
Joe immediately found a crack on the ground.
“Maybe there’s magma down there,” he said enthusiastically.
He then started to dig in the crack with a stick. He got excited when he
dug up a rock. Another child joined him. I watched as they poked around
in the dirt, digging up rocks and talking about them.
“This one’s sandstone,” John said.
They dug away at a large rock for about 20 minutes, trying to get it out of the
ground. They dug around it and they kicked it. They eventually got it out (with a little help).
Joe took it back to the classroom and showed his friends. He was proud of his efforts.
Nearby, Lily was collecting leaves… her cool things. She spent her time playing in the sand. I watched as she used a stick to make patterns in the sand. She also covered the leaves with sand and then let the sand roll off.
This kind of exploratory play is so important for kids. It teaches them to play with the simplest of things… cool things… and to entertain themselves. All they need is a stick, some dirt, some leaves, and a little imagination.
Try this out sometime and let me know how it goes.
Diane Schwartz is an Outdoor Education Teacher at Goodman Community Center in Madison, Wisconsin. She is also the Site Coordinator at Schumacher Farm County Park in Waunakee. Register for this blog now and receive your free 11-page Bubble Activity Guide. Thank you!