This downloadable booklet provides a greatest hits compendium of schoolyard activities used by experienced environmental and biomimicry educators to foster connection with the natural world.

Objectives

  • Reconnect with nature through sensory and experiential activities.
  • Investigate and learn about nature through exploratory and inquiry‑based activities.
  • Use knowledge about nature to take action to create a more ecologically sound, sustainable community.

This guide is designed for teachers and classes wishing to do simple and enjoyable outdoor environmental activities in their schoolyard. Activities are grouped into three sections: Awareness, Understanding, and Action. The Institute highlighted in the table of contents some activities that are especially conducive to biomimicry education. These include:

  • Nature Trust Walk: This blindfold activity shows students that a lot of information about organisms and their s may be learned by using senses other than just sight.
  • Nature Scavenger Hunt: Students use language, verbal, visual and kinesthetic skills to explore the diversity of nature.
  • Sound Map: In this creative activity, students focus on the sounds of nature, and try to draw a map of what they hear rather than what they see.
  • Be a Tree: In this dramatic activity students develop empathy for nature by pretending to be aspen trees as the instructor reads guided imagery leading them through four seasons.
  • Observation Games: Three favorite observation games that help students focus to better observe details.
  • Environmental Factors Hunt: This activity gets students to find the different microclimates within one site to discover how differences affect living things.
  • Tree—Guided Exploration: In this activity, students explore the structure and function of the various parts of a tree.
  • Bugs ‘R Us: In this activity students discover the variety of insects and arachnids that mostly remain unseen, then study and draw them to notice details.
  • Four Seasons of a Tree: Students adopt a tree to observe monthly, recording their measurements, making observations and developing understanding and empathy.