Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Explorer Kit and Downloadable Activities

Sick of being stuck inside? Go on an outdoor scavenger hunt!

Looking for an outdoor activity? Put together an outdoor scavenger hunt explorer kit and see what you can find around your neighborhood!

Materials you will need:

  • A notebook and pencil to record your findings! You could press leaves in the pages, sketch an animal’s footprint, draw an interesting tree to record and look up later.
  • Binoculars, if you have them! Birds of prey like ospreys like to build their nests on top of power poles and other tall structures. Can you find any?
  • Sunscreen! It’s important for outdoor explorers of all ages to protect their skin from sun exposure.
  • Hand sanitizer!
  • Sunglasses! It’s no fun squinting at a tree trying to figure out if that’s a squirrel or a lump of moss
materials for an outdoor scavenger hunt

Download your outdoor scavenger hunt chart, or learn how to make your own customized animal tracking chart!

outdoor scavenger hunt
orlando science center outdoor scavenger hunt

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Ice Chalk DIY Recipe: A Frozen Sensory Sidewalk Art Project

A frozen twist on a classic favorite, ice chalk is a fun way to take your sidewalk art game to the next level! 

Sidewalk chalk is cool but ice chalk is even cooler, literally! Start in the kitchen concocting your chalk paintsicles, then, when they're ready, head outside and get to painting your pavement!

 

Let your worries about keeping children occupied melt away with this sensory outdoor activity. Using simple supplies you may already have in your kitchen, you can create batches of ice chalk to keep busy! 

 

In the event that you're using your ice chalk on a hot day, a paintbrush can extend the life of your activity! Once the ice chalk has melted, just switch from drawing to painting. 

Materials:

  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • ½ cup water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Ice cube tray or freezable mold
  • Vinegar
  • Spray bottle(s)
  • Food coloring or washable paint such as liquid watercolor or tempera paint* 
  • Optional: Paintbrush 

 

*WARNING: Food coloring is edible but can stain! Either way, mess-friendly play clothes are recommended for this activity!

kitchen-ingredients-for-ice-chalk-kids-activity

Directions:

  • Mix ¼ cup of corn starch and ¼ cup of baking soda together in a mixing bowl.  
  • Pour ½ cup water into the mixing bowl and stir until the corn starch and baking soda dissolve. 
diy-ice-chalk-recipe-with-simple-kitchen-ingredients
  • Drop several drops of food coloring into each section of your ice tray.
  • Carefully pour your mixture into your ice tray, filling up each cube about ¾ of the way full. 
food-coloring-for-colorful-ice-chalk-recipe
  • Gently mix each cube in your ice tray so the color is evenly distributed. You can use a toothpick, fork, or popsicle stick for this step. Remember to use a clean utensil for each new color! 
  • Chill your ice chalk in the freezer for 3-5 hours.  
ice-cube-tray-for-diy-ice-chalk-project
  • Carefully remove your chilled chalk from the ice tray, take it outside, and enjoy!
  • As your chalk melts, use a spray bottle to squirt vinegar onto your creations and watch them fizz! 
melted-ice-chalk-kids-sidewalk-activity

Expand on the Activity:

 

Encourage your artist to answer these questions!

  1. How does it feel to draw with your ice chalk?
  2. How is coloring with your DIY chalk different from coloring with “regular” chalk? How is it the same?
  3. What do you notice about the chalk as it melts? Can you describe it?
  4. As your chalk melts, do you see any colors mixing? What new colors do you see?
  5. What do you notice when you spray vinegar on your chalk creations? What do you see, hear, and smell? 

 

We would love to see your masterpieces! Snap a photo and submit it to our Science Showcase here or use #OSCatHome on social media!

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Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

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Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Nature Portraits: Loose Parts Play Activity for Little Learners

Loose Parts Play with Items Found in Nature!

When we set up opportunities for children to play with interesting materials, they have the chance to explore, invent, and imagine in all kinds of new ways! Loose parts play is a great way to encourage fun and creative learning experiences for children with items found around the house.

 

*This activity involves small parts and is not recommended for children under the age of 3.

Materials:

  • A flat, clean, dry workspace
  • A mirror
  • Found nature items. Our favorites include: leaves, twigs, grass, pebbles, tree bark, mulch, pine cones, acorns, and seashells
  • Depending on the different nature items available to you, you may also want to supplement with loose parts from your home. Our favorites include: buttons, tooth picks, twine, dry beans, and popsicle sticks
Create self portrait with loose play parts

Directions:

  1. Take a walk outside and see what nature items you can find! It’s helpful to bring a small container, like a shoebox, along to help hold your collection as you walk. This is a great opportunity to talk with children about what is and isn’t respectful to take from nature or shared outdoor spaces.

  2. Once you’ve collected all the materials you need, set up your workspace with your mirror and your nature items.

  3. Take a look at your face in the mirror. What shapes do you see? Are some of your features bigger than others? Is your hair long or short, straight or curly?

  4. Take a look at the items you collected. What could make good eyes? Did you collect anything that reminds you of the shape of your nose or the texture of your hair?

  5. Use what you collected to put together the best portrait of yourself that you can! Don’t like something? Don’t worry! The best part about playing with loose parts is that you can create and re-create again and again! Try making portraits of yourself making different faces. What’s different about how you make a happy face compared to how you make a sad face?

  6. Don’t forget to take a picture before you put your loose parts away! Share your photos with us by using #OSCatHome on social media or submitting them to our Science Showcase!

Extend the fun!

One of our favorite things about loose parts play is that you can use almost anything! Don’t have easy access to nature items?

 

Try using some of our other favorite loose parts items which include but are not limited to:

  • Bottle caps
  • LEGO blocks
  • Uncooked pasta in different shapes
  • Yarn or ribbon
  • Beads
  • Pom poms
  • Straws
  • Fabric scraps
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Rubber bands
  • Paper clips
  • Q-tips or cotton swabs
  • Tin foil

Just like your materials, your loose parts play prompt can be pretty much anything. Challenge children to make an invention, map out a garden, explore pattern making, design a robot, imagine their own planet, or create scenes based on different seasons!

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!