Sunday, October 14, 2012

Garden Scavenger Hunt / Botany with Seniors (4)

We are very fortunate to have a garden at The Bridge. There are a handful of seniors that regularly venture outside to  enjoy the natural beauty it offers. Occasionally, the staff invites a senior to join them on a walk around it if they note that they appear restless or have started to wander. One day last week, one of the seniors didn't want to do exercises and she did not want to sit and read or knit. She wanted "to do something different."

A few weeks earlier, I had printed out two sheets of cards for a botanical scavenger hunt. These, I thought, would be perfect for this senior. I knew her well enough to know that she would not just want to go on a quick walk,  but would want to achieve a task while out in the garden. She enjoys organizing and sorting. Too, she likes order, so having to look and acquire specific items would be engaging for her.

I quickly cut the cards and placed them into envelopes. I thought envelopes could carry the paper cards and keep them in an organized fashion that would make them easy to retrieve and return. Having been in the Montessori classroom for so long, I must confess I wished that they had been laminated, but there is no laminator at The Bridge. We work with what we have and what we have is used in the moment.

I also grabbed a small, handled basket to use for the collected items. In a matter of minutes I was ready to invite the senior to join me on a scavenger hunt in the garden. She asked, "What kind of scavenger hunt?" I told her I needed some items for an art project later and that I needed someone to assist me in finding them. I then asked her if she could please help me in my task. "Ok, if you really need help I can do that." We were out the door and in the garden moments later. She carried the basket in one of her hands and I carried the envelopes with the paper cards.

Our first find was a leaf larger than our hand -

I pulled several of the paper cards from one of the envelopes and placed them on a nearby stone wall.

My companion picked them up and began identifying one item after another.

 Soon, she had found several of the items.

Things that we couldn't put into the basket or remove from the garden, I photographed. Below are photos of two of those items -

A mushroom growing on a tree or close to the ground:

A round stone:

A half hour later, we had collected or photographed most of the items noted on the cards. It was then that she looked into the basket, handed it to me and said, "OK, I helped you. Let's go back inside." It was a great activity. I confess, I really enjoyed the scavenger hunt and the time spent with the senior who "helped me."

The link for the cards is below:

The Alaska Bird Observatory has several other printables that are also excellent:


Rosalinda Hone said...

“I confess, I really enjoyed the scavenger hunt…” – Well, people of all ages can enjoy activities like this. And what’s great about your activity is that you can learn a lot from plants and flowers in the garden. You get to identify different floras and garden species while having loads of fun! And being close to nature while playing a game is indeed pleasurable!

Tracey said...

Hi Susan,

I've discovered a great alternative to a laminator. I use contact paper. I measure the contact paper just a bit wider than width of my paper. Then cut one long piece out, this size. I then lay each of my cards just under each other, face down on the peeled off contact. When I get to the end, I cut between each piece of card. After each is cut, I turn over the edges of the overlapped contact to the back of the cards. If you'd like a picture I can send it. A picture is so much easier to understand. So glad you are back in blog world.

Susan Y. Dyer said...

Thanks Roslinda and Tracey for the great comments! Tracey do send a photo to my email and I will post it here. Thanks again!

Susan Dyer
The Moveable Alphabet