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Activities

3D Virtual Sculpting

Long Activity

Ages 9-12

45-60 minutes

3D Virtual Sculpting

Description

Virtually sculpt clay to create a 3D creature from your imagination, using a computer and the SculptFab website.  

Competencies

  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Creative expression
  • Computer literacy
  • Development of fine motor skills

Materials

  • An internet enabled laptop or desktop with a up-to-date web browser

Preparation

Implementation

1.   Set up participants on the SculptFab website

2.   Introduce SculptFab and the concept that it is similar to a virtual ball of clay that you can carve and manipulate

3.   Introduce and practice the basic mouse controls for viewing your 3D model at the start of the activity:

a.    Hold the right click mouse button in the 3D preview window and move your mouse, using your mouse scroll wheel up and down to zoom in and out, holding down your middle scroll wheel button to pan your viewpoint

b.    Use the left click mouse button to activate the tool selected on your virtual ball of clay

c.    Talk about the symmetry option and how it can be used to mirror anything you do automatically on the sphere

d.    Explore the menu bar and the essential options (File, History, Reset sphere)

e.    Review how to use the tool menu on the right of the screen

4.   Let the participants explore on their own and see what they can create

5.   Talk about how they can save their work as a .STL or an .OBJ file to edit or view later on

6.   Tell them that Windows 10 has a built-in 3D preview program called Print 3D to open these file formats to view on their home PCs

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If you feel confident, you can tell the participants that they could get their creatures 3D printed. Using software like this one, we can design and then print 3D objects in the real world. That means we could see what we made in our hands and touch it if we ever wanted to!

Book Suggestions

Drawn from Nature by Helen Ahpornsiri

Life by Cynthia Rylant

Download Instructions

Images

Here are some of the basic controls to get you started below:

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Recommended Resources

If you enjoyed using SculptFab for your program or class, there are other online resources you can try just for fun to see if anything interests you as an instructor.

 Tinkercad (3D design / programming and electronics)

  • Design 3D objects using primitive shapes that can be joined together or used to deduct from each other
  • Create virtual Arduino microcontrollers and components using a feature called Circuits—a way to practice and learn electronics, microcontrollers, breadboards and components

 Blockly Games (programming logic game)

  • Introduces the logic of programming
  • Uses drag and drop puzzle pieces to solve brainteasers

 BlocksCAD (programming via puzzle pieces)

  • Uses drag and drop puzzle pieces to create accurate 3D designed parts

 Scratch (programming via puzzle pieces)

  • Uses drag and drop puzzle pieces to program
  • Creates animations or interactive games using Scratch

 MIT App Inventor (Android app development)

  • Develop an Android application using only a web browser
  • Create and download your application and run it on an Android phone

 Canva (graphic design)

  • Create graphics easily with an online editor using pre-made templates

 Pixlr (graphic design)

  • Create graphics with a web-based design tool, which is very similar to Photoshop

Apple Tree

Craft

Ages 0-3

15 minutes

Apple Tree

Description

Add leaves and apples to the branches of a tree.

Competencies

  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Organization and planning

Materials

Preparation

  • Print out the various templates using green paper for the leaves and red paper for the apples
  • Alternatively, print the templates on white paper and allow participants to colour the objects
  • Cut out the leaves and apples before the program or allow caregivers to cut out the shapes for participants
  • Prepare the room for a program that uses glue

 Implementation

  1. Provide each participant with a tree template, leaves (at least 20 is recommended), apples (at least 5 is recommended), and glue
  2. Participants add the leaves and apples to the tree template
  3. Optional: provide crayons for participants to add more colour to their craft

Book Suggestions

I Love You Like… by Lori Joy Smith

Picture the Sky by Barbara Reid

Summer Color! by Diana Murray

Wild One by Jane Whittingham

You Are Never Alone by Elin Kelsey

Download Instructions

Download Tree, Leaves, and Apples Templates

Images

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Bird Feeder

Short Activity

Ages 9-12

20 minutes

Bird Feeder

Description

Make your very own bird feeder and study the birds that come for a snack.

Competencies

  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Bird recognition

Materials

  • Birdseed (pre-packaged or a mixture of seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin)
  • Plates
  • Nut-free spread (e.g. sunflower seed butter)
  • Spoons or craft sticks
  • String or ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Toilet paper rolls or a similar alternative

Preparation

  • Purchase birdseed or a mixture of seeds and nut-free spread
  • Collect toilet paper rolls
  • Prepare the room for a program that may get messy

Implementation

  1. Place the birdseed on plates
  2. Using the back of a spoon or a craft stick, coat the toilet paper roll with the nut-free spread
  3. Roll the sticky tube in the birdseed to cover it entirely
  4. Cut a piece of string approximately 30 cm long, thread it through the tube and tie the ends together
  5. Hang the bird feeders outside after the activity has ended, either as individuals or together as a group
  6. If desired, encourage kids to keep a record of all the birds that come to eat at the feeder

Book Suggestions

Drawn from Nature by Helen Ahpornsiri

Going Wild: Helping Nature Thrive in Cities by Michelle Mulder

My First Book of Canadian Birds by Andrea Miller

Sukaq and the Raven by Roy Goose and Kerry McCluskey

Download Instructions

Images

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Canadian Wildlife Sounds

Long Activity

Ages 6-8

30 minutes

Canadian Wildlife Sounds

Description

Use our PowerPoint trivia presentation for kids to guess animal sounds.

Competencies

  • Working collaboratively
  • Social interaction
  • Understanding and appreciation of animals

Materials

Preparation

  • Download the PowerPoint presentation
  • Print out copies of the animal card templates, one for each team
  • If desired, cut out the animal cards

Implementation

  1. Divide the kids into teams of 2-5 participants
  2. Provide each team with the animal card template or a set of the 20 animal cards cut out
  3. Open the PowerPoint trivia presentation, click on the Slide Show tab, and click “From Beginning” to play the presentation
  4. Click the speaker icon to play the first animal sound
  5. Give each team 30 seconds to 1 minute to come to a consensus answer
  6. Each team identifies which animal they believe made the sound (either verbally or by showing the card)
  7. Click to the next slide, which builds a bit of drama by showing the answer after a 10 second countdown
  8. Advise the teams that each animal will only come up once in the presentation, so once the animal has appeared, they can turn over that card or cross it out on the sheet
  9. If desired, keep score in any way that you find suitable

Book Suggestions

Be a City Nature Detective by Peggy Kochanoff

Do Frogs Drink Hot Chocolate? by Etta Kaner

Rewilding: Giving Nature a Second Chance by Jane Drake

Splish, Splash, Foxes Dash! by Geraldo Valério

The Wild Beast by Eric Walters

Download Instructions

Download Canadian Wildlife Trivia presentation

Download Animal cards

Images

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Coloured Caterpillar

Craft

Ages 0-3

15 minutes

Coloured Caterpillar

Description

Piece together the parts of a paper caterpillar.

Competencies

  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Planning skills

Materials

  • Paper in various colours
  • Glue
  • Scissors (adult use only)
  • Crayons

Preparation

Implementation

  • Provide each participant with a caterpillar head, several pieces of the body (4-6 is recommended), a sheet of paper to glue the pieces onto, and glue
  • Combine this craft with the book suggestions below or any book about caterpillars for a story time program

Book Suggestions

City Bugs by Antonia Banyard

Forest Baby by Laurie Elmquist

Mi'kmaw Animals by Alan Syliboy

Download Instructions

Download Templates

Images

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Colouring Pages and Bookmarks

Short Activity

Ages 3-5

20 minutes

Colouring Pages and Bookmarks

Description

Colour the illustrations by Clayton Hanmer.

Competencies

  • Creative expression
  • Development of fine motor skills

Materials

  • Colouring pages
  • Crayons, pencil crayons, or markers
  • Optional: scissors, if cutting out the bookmarks

Implementation

  1. Distribute the colouring pages and crayons to participants

Book Suggestions

Splish, Splash, Foxes Dash! by Geraldo Valério

Summer Color! by Diana Murray

Download Instructions

Download Colouring Pages

Images

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Comic Templates

Short Activity

Ages 9-12

20 minutes

Comic Templates

Description

Use your creativity to fill in text into comic book templates.

Competencies

  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Planning skills
  • Written communication skills
  • Creative expression

Materials

  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Downloadable Template: comic book
  • Optional: pencil crayons (if participants want to colour the templates)
  • Optional: correction tape or fluid (if creating your own templates)

Preparation

  • Print out the comic book templates
  • Optional: prepare your own template by photocopying a page from a comic book, covering the text in all the speech bubbles with correction tape or fluid, and photocopying again

Implementation

  1. Distribute comic book templates to participants to complete
  2. Optional: as a group, read the TD Summer Reading Club feature comic available on the website starting in June 2019; alternatively, encourage children to read the comic on their own

Book Suggestions

Dinosaur Empire! by Abby Howard

The Good Egg by Mariko Tamaki

Hug a Tree, Geronimo by Geronimo Stilton

Download Instructions

Download Comic Book Templates

Images

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Drawn from Nature

Craft

Ages 9-12

30 minutes

Drawn from Nature

Description

Inspired by the book Drawn from Nature, create animals using materials from the natural world.

Competencies

  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Spatial relationships
  • Organization and planning

Materials

Preparation

  • If not going on a nature walk with participants, collect material from the natural world before the program
  • Alternatively, if you don’t want to use natural world material, print the shape template on different coloured papers
  • Print out the animal templates, modifying sizes as needed
  • Prepare the room for a program that uses glue

Implementation

  1. Optional: read parts of the book Drawn from Nature by Helen Ahpornsiri for inspiration, especially the note from the artist on page 59
  2. Optional: as a group, watch the YouTube Video of the author creating the illustrations for her book
  3. Participants use the natural world material (or the shape templates) in creative ways to create one or more animals; participants can fill in the animal templates or sketch their own outlines prior to starting, or work without an outline
  4. Participants can use scissors to trim material as desired

Book Suggestions

Drawn from Nature by Helen Ahpornsiri

A Season of Flowers by Michael Garland

The Wild Beast by Eric Walters

Wildflowers by Libby Romero

Download Instructions

Download Optional Animal Templates

Download Optional Shape Templates

Images

Images from Drawn from Nature.

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Drums from Recycled Material

Long Activity

Ages 9-12

30 minutes

Drums from Recycled Material

Description

Make drums using recycled material and beat out a rhythm as a group.

Competencies

  • Teamwork
  • Social responsibility
  • Creative expression

Materials

  • Balloons
  • Empty, clean tin cans
  • Rubber bands or duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Craft sticks, wooden chopsticks, or dowels (for drumsticks)
  • Optional: uncooked rice, pasta, pebbles, or any small objects to shake
  • Optional: access to computers with speakers
  • Optional: cell phone or recording device

Implementation

1.   Optional: As a group, read the advanced picture book, Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay

2.   Blow up the balloon and then allow it to deflate, which stretches it out

3.   Cut off the blowing tube end of the balloon

4.   Optional: if you want to make a drum that rattles, add some rice, pasta, or pebbles to the tin can at this point

5.   Stretch the balloon over the rim of a tin can and secure it tightly with rubber bands or duct tape

6.   Optional: for extra durability, add a second balloon over top of the first

7.   Participants can use the wooden chopsticks, craft sticks, or their hands to play on the balloon side of the drum, or flip it over to play on the tin

8.   Divide the participants into two groups

a)   Have the instructor or one participant count 1, 2, 3, 4 at a comfortable, consistent pace and repeat

b)   Teach a simple beat to one group (for example, play on the instrument when the instructor counts the number 2 and 4 beats)

c)    Then teach a different simple beat to another group (for example, only play the instrument on the number 3 beat)

d)   Allow the groups to play simultaneously

e)   After participants get used to their musical pattern, see if they continue without the instructor counting and stay on beat

f)    Can the groups come up with their own beat and song?

9.   Optional:

a)   Encourage the group to write a song and use your cell phone or another device to record it and then play it back for them

b)   If you have a computer or laptop with speakers, access the free drumbit app for inspiration or allow participants to each write a song

c)    Talking points can include the following:

i.    A music sequencer is used to create a pattern for an individual instrument that can be combined with patterns of other instruments to create a song

ii.    There are hardware and software sequencers to create complicated musical performances

Book Suggestions

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood

Respect Our World: Sustainability by Ramona Heikel

Download Instructions

Images

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Fill It In with Playdough

Short Activity

Ages 0-3

20 minutes

Fill It In with Playdough

Description

Fill in the natural world templates using playdough.

Competencies

  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Spatial relationships

Materials

  • Playdough in various colours
  • Optional: crayons for colouring if playdough is not available
  • Optional: cardstock

Preparation

  • Print the templates using cardstock if available
  • If desired, cut out the various images and provide participants with a set number of images to work on
  • Prepare the room for a program that uses playdough

Implementation

  1. Distribute the template to participants and their caregivers
  2. Participants can be encouraged to use the playdough colours that best represent the image

Book Suggestions

City Critters by Antonia Banyard

Discovering Animals: English, French, Cree by Neepin Auger

Mi’kmaw Animals by Alan Syliboy

My First Book of Canadian Birds by Andrea Miller

Picture the Sky by Barbara Reid

Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson

Splish, Splash, Foxes Dash! by Geraldo Valério

Summer Color! by Diana Murray

Thank You, Earth by April Pulley Sayre

Download Instructions

Download Template

Images

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Geometry Scavenger Hunt

Short Activity

Ages 3-5

15 minutes

Geometry Scavenger Hunt

Description

Categorize various shapes in the natural world.

Competencies

  • Study of nature
  • Classification skills
  • Understanding shapes

Materials

  • Natural objects with geometric shapes
  • Printouts of photographs of geometric shapes in nature
  • Optional: containers for sorting
  • Optional: scavenger hunt template

Preparation

or

  • Collect natural world materials

    • Circular or spherical objects can include a sand dollar, a beach stone, the moon, the sun, or an orange
    • Objects that are oval or ovoid include certain seeds, leaves, and bird eggs
    • Objects that are triangular include a fern, a pinecone, and a feather

  • If using containers, label them with the geometric shapes (circles and spheres, ovals and ovoids, triangles and pyramids)
  • If using the scavenger hunt template, print out a template for each participant

Implementation

There are several different ways to run this activity:

  • Option 1: As a group, participants and their caregivers take a walk outside looking at objects in nature and categorizing them based on their shapes using the scavenger hunt template
  • Option 2: If conducting this program indoors with a small group, provide the nature items, printouts, and containers, allowing the kids to sort the objects into the containers
  • Option 3: If conducting this program with a large group indoors (e.g. as part of a story time program), present the nature items or pictures one by one and ask the children to guess the object’s shape, then place the items in the appropriate container
  • Option 4: Allow participants and caregivers to brainstorm items that fit into the various categories in the scavenger hunt template without the objects or pictures

Book Suggestions

Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson

The Golden Glow by Benjamin Flouw

Stego-cumulus by Hilary Leung

Wild Ideas by Elin Kelsey

Download Instructions

Download Template

Images

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Leaf and Tree Bark Rubbings

Craft

Ages 6-8

20 minutes

Leaf and Tree Bark Rubbings

Description

Rub along natural, textured surfaces to create art.

Competencies

  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Study of nature

Materials

  • Crayons
  • Paper
  • Leaves of different shapes and sizes
  • Optional: folder or scrapbook

Preparation

  • If running this program indoors only, collect leaves of different shapes and sizes

Implementation

1.   For a tree bark rubbing:

a.    Walk to an area with trees

b.    Participants choose a tree and put a piece of paper against the tree trunk, holding it firmly so it doesn’t move

c.    Gently rub the paper all over with a crayon

d.    The texture of the tree trunk will make the crayon marks appear darker in some places than others

e.    Repeat as desired with other tree trunks and new pieces of paper

2.   For a leaf rubbing:

a.    Participants can collect their own leaves outside, or collect leaves for the participants before the program

b.    Put a leaf on a smooth surface and cover it with a piece of paper, holding it down firmly

c.    Gently rub over the leaf back and forth with a crayon

d.    The leaf’s edges, veins, and texture will make the crayon marks appear darker in some places than others

e.    Repeat as desired with more leaves

3.   Option: Store your finished rubbings in a folder or scrapbook

4.   Option: Switch crayon colours while working on a rubbing for a rainbow effect

Book Suggestions

Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson

Summer Color! by Diana Murray

A Walk in the Forest by Maria Dek

Wild Ideas by Elin Kelsey

Download Instructions

Images

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Music Shakers

Long Activity

Ages 0-3

30 minutes

Music Shakers

Description

Create music shakers to use for singing and dancing programs. 

Competencies

  • Sensory motor skills
  • Social interaction
  • Body awareness
  • Rhythm and music appreciation

Materials

  • For the shaker: containers with a secure lid, including small jars, tins, bottles, and plastic Easter eggs; small shakers work best for little hands
  • For inside the shaker: pebbles, stones, corn kernels, beans, rice, beads, or other small objects
  • Optional: markers, paint, or stickers to decorate the outside of the shaker
  • Optional: colourful string, ribbon, feathers, or other decorative material
  • Glue or tape

Preparation

  • Collect all the items needed to make the shaker

Implementation

  1. Distribute one container per participant
  2. Optional: As part of the program, you can walk with the caregivers/participants outside to collect pebbles and stones for the shakers
  3. Fill the shaker about one-quarter to half-full with pebbles or stones, etc.
  4. Tape or glue along on the closure of the shaker for extra security to ensure the small material does not spill out
  5. Optional: participants can use the markers, paint, or stickers to decorate the outside of the shaker
  6. Optional: use colourful string, ribbon, feathers, or other decorative material and attach it to the shaker using glue, tape, or by cinching it into the lid prior to sealing it
  7. Use the shakers to sing along to any type of music, using recorded music and speakers if desired (song recommendation: "Shake it Baby, Shake It" by Rainbow Songs)
  8. Provide different instructions for shaking along to the music, including fast vs. slow, loud vs. soft, above your head vs. down at your toes, and in front of your body vs. behind your body

Book Suggestions

Forest Baby by Laurie Elmquist

I Love You Like… by Lori Joy Smith

A Walk in the Forest by Maria Dek

Wild One by Jane Whittingham

Download Instructions

Images

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Mystery Container

Short Activity

Ages 3-5

15 Minutes

Mystery Container

Description

Stimulate your senses with a container filled with a variety of objects.

Competencies

  • Body awareness
  • Sensory motor skills
  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Development of fine motor skills

Materials

  • A container (box, bag, etc.)
  • Filler material (water beads, kinetic sand, colour rice, pasta, shredded paper, cotton balls, oats, beans, etc.)
  • Larger objects to manipulate that are different shapes and textures (toys, buttons, spoons, tongs, wire cleaners, foam shapes, etc.)

Preparation

  • Load the container with the chosen filler material
  • Distribute the larger objects inside the container
  • Optional: cover or seal the mystery container

Implementation

  1. Have participants insert their hand into the mystery container, either as a small group or individually
  2. Encourage them to explore and feel inside the container
  3. Ask the participant if anything seems familiar about the objects inside
  4. Optional:

    • If the container is closed, ask them to guess what they think is inside
    • Track the participants’ guesses and see who can correctly identify the most items

Book Suggestions

Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson

The Night the Forest Came to Town by Charles Ghigna

Download Instructions

Images

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Nature Name

Craft

Ages 6-8

25 Minutes

Nature Name

Description

Use natural world materials to spell your name in a creative way.

Competencies

  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Planning skills

Materials

  • Paper
  • Pens, pencils, or markers
  • Scissors
  • Materials from the natural world (e.g. grass, leaves, stems, and twigs)
  • Containers or plastic bags to collect natural world materials

Preparation

  • If desired, participants can take a walk and collect small natural world materials in a plastic bag or small container as part of the program
  • Alternatively, collect enough materials for all the program participants
  • Prepare the room for a program that uses glue

Implementation

  1. Provide participants with a piece of paper large enough for their name (recommended: half of an 8.5 x 11 in. sheet)
  2. Participants write their name in large or bubble letters on the paper
  3. Participants glue the natural world material over or inside the letters
  4. If desired, provide participants with scissors to trim the natural world material to their liking

Book Suggestions

The Golden Glow by Benjamin Flouw

Nothing at All by Marie-Hélène Jarry

Poetree by Caroline Pignat

Wild Ideas by Elin Kelsey

You Are Never Alone by Elin Kelsey

Download Instructions

Images

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Nature Rhymes

Short Activity

Ages 0-3

10 Minutes

Nature Rhymes

Description

Rhymes, finger plays, and songs with a nature theme to include during a story time program.

Competencies

  • Sensory motor skills
  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Oral communication
  • Social interaction
  • Rhythm and music appreciation
  • Following directions
  • Eye-hand coordination

Materials

  • Optional: printout of nature rhymes

Preparation

  • Learn the lyrics and the associated actions for each of the rhymes, finger plays, and songs
  • Optional: print out the nature rhymes for caregivers, which can be used during and after the program

Implementation

  1. Use the list of nature rhymes to select various nature-themed finger plays
  2. Consider combining them with some of the book suggestions for a story time program with babies or toddlers

Book Suggestions

City Critters by Antonia Banyard

Forest Baby by Laurie Elmquist

I Give You the World by Stacey McCleary

I Love You Like… by Lori Joy Smith

Life by Cynthia Rylant

Picture the Sky by Barbara Reid

Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson

Splish, Splash, Foxes Dash! by Geraldo Valério

Summer Color! by Diana Murray

Thank You, Earth by April Pulley Sayre

Wild One by Jane Whittingham

Download Instructions

List of Nature Rhymes

Itsy Bitsy Spider

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout.

(Action: Alternately touch the thumb of one hand to the index finger of the other)

Down came the rain

(Action: Hold both hands up and wiggle the fingers as the hands are lowered)

and washed the spider out.

(Action: Sweep the hands from side to side)

Out came the sun

(Action: Raise both hands and sweep to the sides to form a semicircle for the sun)

and dried up all the rain,

(Action: Wiggle fingers upwards)

and the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.

(Action: Alternately touch the thumb of one hand to the index finger of the other)


Itsy Bitsy Caterpillar

Sing to the same tune as “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

The itsy bitsy caterpillar crawled up the garden wall.

Down came the rain,

and he hoped he wouldn’t fall.

Out came the sun

and dried up all the rain.

Then the itsy bitsy caterpillar went on his way again.


Dig a Little Hole

 Dig a little hole,

(Action: Digging motion)

Plant a little seed.

(Action: Drop seed into hole)

Pour a little water,

(Action: Pouring motion)

Pull a little weed.

(Action: Pull up weed and throw away)

Chase a little bug,

(Action: Chasing motion)

Heigh-ho there he goes!

Give a little sunshine,

(Action: Cup hands and lift to sun)

Grow a little rose.

(Action: Smell flower, eyes closed, smiling)


Round and Round the Garden

Round and round the garden

Like a teddy bear.

One step, two step

tickle under there.

Recommended actions: Caregivers can start by tracing slow circles in child’s upturned palm. With each “step,” caregivers move their index and middle fingers up the arm, past the elbow towards the shoulder. Finally, after a short pause, tickle under the arm or under the chin. 


Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush

Here we go round the mulberry bush, 
The mulberry bush, 
The mulberry bush.
Here we go round the mulberry bush 
So early in the morning.


This is the way we wash our face, 
Wash our face, 
Wash our face.
This is the way we wash our face
So early in the morning.


This is the way we comb our hair,
Comb our hair, 
Comb our hair.
This is the way we comb our hair
So early in the morning.


This is the way we brush our teeth, 
Brush our teeth, 
Brush our teeth.
This is the way we brush our teeth 
So early in the morning.


This is the way we put on our clothes, 
Put on our clothes, 
Put on our clothes.
This is the way we put on our clothes
So early in the morning.

Here we go round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush, 
The mulberry bush.
Here we go round the mulberry bush
So early in the morning.


Oats, Peas, Beans and Barley Grow

Oats, peas, beans and barley grow, 
Oats, peas, beans and barley grow. 
Can you or I or anyone know,
How oats, peas, beans and barley grow?


It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

It's raining; it's pouring.

The old man is snoring.

He went to bed and bumped his head.

And couldn't get up in the morning.


Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.


Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Row, row, row your boat,

Gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,

Life is but a dream.

And try this alternative:

Row, row, row your boat,

Gently down the stream.

If you see a crocodile,

Don't forget to scream.

Outdoor Art

Long Activity

Ages 6-8

40 minutes

Outdoor Art

Description

Use materials that you find outside to make an image on the ground.

Competencies

  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Appreciation of nature
  • Planning skills
  • Creative expression
  • Spatial relationships

Materials

  • Twigs, sticks, leaves, rocks, grass, and other natural world material that you can collect outside
  • Optional: small baskets for collecting material

Implementation

  1. Go for a walk outside where participants can safely gather twigs, sticks, leaves, rocks, grass, etc.
  2. Working individually or in small groups, participants work to create an outdoor art picture on the ground

Book Suggestions

A Walk in the Forest by Maria Dek

Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson

The Golden Glow by Benjamin Flouw

I Give You the World by Stacey McCleary

The Mushroom Fan Club by Elise Gravel

Nothing at All by Marie-Hélène Jarry

Unplugged by Steve Antony

Download Instructions

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Painted Garden Flowers

Craft

Ages 3-5

30 minutes

Painted Garden Flowers

Description

Decorate your very own flower that you hang on your window or put in a garden.

Competencies

  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Creative expression
  • Emotional expression

Materials

  • Paper or clear acrylic plate
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Green pipe cleaners
  • String
  • Hot glue gun (staff use only)

Preparation

  • Prepare the plate:

o   Twist three pieces of green pipe cleaner to create the flower’s stem and glue it to the bottom of the plate

o   Glue a loop of string to the opposite side from where the pipe cleaners are attached

o   Alternatively, attach a piece of wood using a screw to an acrylic plate, as pictured below

  • Prepare the room for a program that uses paint
  • Distribute the plates and paintbrushes to each station

Implementation

  1. Participants paint their flower as desired to hang up or put in the ground

Book Suggestions

The Digger and the Flower by Joseph Kuefler

The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall

I Love You Like…by Lori Joy Smith

Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson

A Season of Flowers by Michael Garland

Seed School: Growing Up Amazing by Joan Holub

Summer Color! by Diana Murray

Wildflowers by Libby Romero

Download Instructions

Images

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Paper Butterfly

Craft

Ages 3-5

10 minutes

Paper Butterfly

Description

Create a colourful paper butterfly. 

Competencies

  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Organization and planning

Materials

Preparation

  • Print the shapes template on various coloured paper
  • Cut out the shapes before the program or allow caregivers to cut out the shapes for participants
  • Print out the butterfly template
  • Prepare the room for a program that uses glue

Implementation

  1. Provide each participant with a butterfly template
  2. Provide participants with the shapes and glue
  3. If desired, provide participants with crayons or stickers to decorate their butterfly

Book Suggestions

City Bugs by Antonia Banyard

I Give You the World by Stacey McCleary

Stego-cumulus by Hilary Leung

Download Instructions

Download Templates

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Pixel Art

Short Activity

Ages 6-8

20-30 minutes

Pixel Art

Description

Learn about binary numbers to create your own pixel art.

Competencies

  • Computer literacy
  • Logic and sequencing
  • Following directions
  • Eye-hand coordination

Materials

Preparation

  • Download and print all pixel art handouts for each participant
  • Optional: Download the Excel Pixel Art Creator file for the instructor to create pixel art for participants or have participants use the tool to produce original art

Implementation

  • Start with an introduction to the concept of binary, such as the following:
    1. Binary means things are related to, composed of, or involving two things—in our case, using only the numbers 0’s and 1’s
    2. Other examples of binary is having two states, like a light switch because it can only be in two positions, on or off; talk as a group about examples of things that are binary, like a button (pushed or not pushed), yes or no, true or false, on or off
    3. Did you know that computers think only in binary? Computers have microchips that have millions of tiny switches called transistors, that can be either off (0) or on (1); all of these switches work together to do more complex behaviour like math, display pictures, and play video games or movies

  • For our Pixel Art, any box with a 1 inside can be filled with marker or highlighter, and any box with 0’s can be ignored
  • See what images are hidden once you are done
  • Optional: Download the Excel Pixel Art Creator file and have school age participants make their own pixel art

Book Suggestions

The Manic Panic by Richa Jha

Unplugged by Steve Antony

Download Instructions

Download Pixel Art Handout Templates (Book, Cat, Dog, Panda, Star)

Download Optional Build Your Own Pixel Art Generator

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Fill in each grid cell that has a 1 with a marker or crayon to reveal the images!

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The included excel file has a pixel art creator. Feel free to attempt and make your own pixel art. Print your pixel art on 8.5 x 11 paper.

Playdough Animals

Long Activity

Ages 3-5

40 minutes

Playdough Animals

Description

Create animal replicas using playdough.

Competencies

  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Planning skills
  • Creative expression
  • Spatial relationships
  • Understanding and appreciation of animals

Materials

  • Playdough (various colours)
  • Pencils
  • Paper

Preparation

  • Prepare the room for a program that uses playdough
  • Print out photographs of various animals or cut them out of discarded magazines

Implementation

  1. Participants attempt to recreate one or more of the animals they see in the pictures using playdough (e.g. construct the animal in 2D on a sheet of paper or construct the animal in 3D)
  2. For an added STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) component, instruct participants to find the geometric shapes in the animal, like circles, ovals, triangles, rectangles, and squares; use a pencil to draw the same shapes on a sheet of paper and then fill in the shapes with playdough
  3. Optional: Experiment with shaping the playdough in way that represents a different position of the animal other than the one pictured:

a.    What would it look like if it were moving?

b.    What would it look like if it were hunting?

c.    What would it look like if it were eating?

Book Suggestions

At the Pond by Werner Zimmerman

City Critters by Antonia Banyard

Discovering Animals: English, French, Cree by Neepin Auger

Do Frogs Drink Hot Chocolate? By Etta Kaner

Drawn from Nature by Helen Ahpornsiri

Mi’Kmaw Animals by Alan Syliboy

My First Book of Canadian Birds by Andrea Miller

Picture the Sky by Barbara Reid

Splish, Splash, Foxes Dash! by Geraldo Valério

Download Instructions

Images

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Playdough Earth

Craft

Ages 6-8

30 minutes

Playdough Earth

Description

Learn about the different layers of our Earth with playdough.

Competencies

  • Sensory motor skills
  • Study of nature
  • Following directions
  • Eye-hand coordination

Materials

  • Playdough in the following colors:

o   Red (used for Earth’s inner core)

o   Yellow (used for Earth’s outer core)

o   Orange (used for Earth’s mantle layer)

o   Green (used for Earth’s land)

o   Brown (used for Earth’s crust layer)

o   Blue (used for Earth’s water)

  • Plastic knife
  • Optional: toothpicks
  • Optional: tape
  • Optional: marker or pen

Preparation

  • Create balls of playdough of every colour, enough for each participant
  • Make the balls in increasing size in this order: red, yellow, orange, green, brown, blue

Implementation

  1. Start with a ball of red playdough to represent the Earth’s core
  2. Flatten the yellow playdough ball and put it around the red
  3. Repeat for the other colours: orange, brown then blue
  4. Using the green playdough, create the land masses for Earth
  5. Cut the finished Earth in half to view the different layers that represent the inside of our planet
  6. Optional: Have the children label the different layers they see using toothpicks, tape, and a pen

Book Suggestions

Earth!: My First 4.54 Billion Years by Stacy McAnulty

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers

Rivers, Seas and Oceans by Mack

Thank you, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet by April Pulley Sayre

Utterly Amazing Earth by Dougal Jerram

When Planet Earth was New by James Gladstone

Download Instructions

Images

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The finished playdough Earth cut in half

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Optional: label the layers

Seed Bomb

Short Activity

Ages 6-8

20 minutes

Seed Bomb

Description

Plant some flowers by using a seed bomb.

Competencies

  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Study of nature
  • Nature studies
  • Creative expression
  • Following directions

Materials

  • 4 parts natural clay
  • 1 part seed starting soil mix
  • 1 part wildflower seeds (pick wildflower seeds that are native to where you live)
  • Fabric or tissue paper
  • String
  • A sheet of paper or butcher paper

Preparation

  • For each participant, evenly distribute the materials on the sheet of paper so they can mix it
  • Precut the fabric or tissue paper into 10 cm squares

Implementation

  1. Have the participants flatten the clay like a pancake
  2. Over the clay, sprinkle the seed starting mix and wildflower seeds
  3. Fold the clay and knead it until everything is mixed
  4. Roll the clay out like a snake
  5. Pinch off small sections and roll those into balls
  6. Place the seed bomb balls onto fabric or tissue paper to hold them
  7. Gather the ends of the fabric or tissue paper and tie with string
  8. Decorate the fabric or tissue as desired
  9. Wait 24 hours for the clay to air dry
  10. Tell the participants to think of a place where they want to see their wild flowers grow
  11. With adult supervision or permission, throw the seed bomb!
  12. Alternatively, give the seed bomb to someone as a gift

Book Suggestions

Charlie's Dirt Day by Andrew Larsen

The Digger and the Flower by Joseph Kuefler

Going Wild: Helping Nature Thrive in Cities by Michelle Mulder

A Season of Flowers by Michael Garland

Seed School by Joan Holub

What Matters by Alison Hughes

Wildflowers by Libby Romero

Download Instructions

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Spinners

Craft

Ages 9-12

30 minutes

Spinners

Description

Create a cool image to swirl and amaze your friends.

Competencies

  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Cause and effect relationships
  • Planning skills
  • Creative expression
  • Eye-hand coordination

Materials

  • Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Markers, paint or pencil crayons
  • Twine
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors

Preparation

Implementation

1.   Participants cut out the circles from the template

2.   Use the circle cutouts as a guide to trace onto and then cut a cardboard circle

3.   Use a glue stick to adhere the paper circles to both sides of the cardboard circle

4.   Participants draw a landscape using markers, paint or pencil crayons

5.   Create 2 holes in the circle, one in the center and another slightly beside it

6.   Cut the twine to approximately 70 cms long

7.   Run the twine into each hole in the spinner

8.   Tie the two ends of the twine together in a knot to create a loop

9.   Move the spinner to the center of the loop of twine

10. Experiment with rotating the spinner:

a)   Hold a piece of the twine in each hand

b)   Pull, relax, then pull on it again

c)    Twist the twine by rotating it first to get more speed on your spinner

11. See how your landscape changes depending on how fast it spins

Book Suggestions

Summer Color! by Diana Murray

Utterly Amazing Earth by Dougal Jerram

You Are Never Alone by Elin Kelsey

Download Instructions

Download Circle Template

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Story Dice

Short Activity

Ages 9-12

20 minutes

Story Dice

Description

Roll the dice to select six stimulus words and build a story around them.

Competencies

  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Organization and planning
  • Written communication skills
  • Creative expression

Materials

Implementation

  1. Participants throw a dice six times to select a stimulus word from each of the six circles on the Story Dice template
  2. Write down the six stimulus words at the top of a sheet of paper
  3. Participants write a short story that uses all of the six stimulus words at least once

Book Suggestions

Countdown to Danger: Canadian Survival by Jeff Szpirglas

Lost! by Terry Lynn Johnson

Sukaq and the Raven by Roy Goose and Kerry McCluskey

Wild Ideas by Elin Kelsey

Download Instructions

Download Store Dice Template

Images

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Storytelling Stones

Long Activity

Ages 9-12

60 minutes

Storytelling Stones

Description

Use stones to make art and then tell a story with them

Competencies

  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Planning skills
  • Oral communication skills
  • Written communication skills
  • Creative expression

Materials

  • Stones and pebbles
  • Various colours of paint (acrylic paint works best but you can use tempera, poster paint or watercolours)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Optional: markers or paint pens
  • Optional: tape

Preparation

  • Collect stones of various shapes and sizes, then wash and dry them

    • It’s best to choose smooth, flat stones and pebbles, but irregular and rough ones can also work
    • If you are unable to collect stones outside, many craft, dollar, and garden supply stores offer a variety of stones for purchase
    • Alternatively, participants can collect their own stones by going outside at the start of the program if you have a suitable location nearby, or they can be instructed to collect the stones in advance and bring them to the program

  • Prepare the room for a program that uses paint

Implementation

  1. Provide participants with a minimum of three stones each
  2. Participants paint the stones as desired (e.g. faces, plants, animals, words, geometric shapes, patterns, vehicles, numbers, and letters)
  3. If desired, participants can outline a design in pencil on the stones before painting
  4. If desired, participants can use masking tape to create sharp lines (wrap the tape around a portion of the stone, paint the uncovered part, wait for the paint to dry and then carefully remove the tape)
  5. If desired, participants can design and paint a multi-stone image (e.g. create a rabbit by using a round stone for the head, two thin oval stones for ears, a larger oval stone for the body, and four oval or triangle-shaped stones or pebbles for legs)
  6. Once participants have finished painting their stones, challenge them to create a story using all their designs; they can tell their story to the group, or write it down on paper
  7. Participants can combine their stones or switch with others and then tell different stories

Book Suggestions

Island in the Salish Sea by Sheryl McFarlane

Utterly Amazing Earth by Dougal Jerram

The Wild Beast by Eric Walters

Download Instructions

Images

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Tabletop Nature Mural

Short Activity

Ages 0-3

20 minutes

Tabletop Nature Mural

Description

Create a nature-themed mural using a variety of materials.

Competencies

  • Teamwork
  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Planning skills
  • Social interaction

Materials

  • Cutouts from discarded magazines with nature pictures
  • Cutouts of various shapes from coloured paper (e.g. leaves, trees, etc.)
  • Kraft paper roll or large poster paper
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Coloured paper
  • Glue
  • Optional: leaves and grass
  • Optional: stickers (use TD SRC stickers from a previous year if desired)

Preparation

  • Prepare the room for a program that uses glue
  • Line the tables or floor with a long kraft paper roll for a large group mural, or small poster paper or Bristol boards for a smaller groups
  • Optional: On the paper, draw a few pencil outlines of trees or other objects in the natural world for kids to add to
  • Cut out a variety of nature scenes and animals from discarded magazines or from printouts
  • Cut out of a variety of shapes in a variety of colours for kids to glue onto the mural (for example, kids can combine green triangles with brown rectangles to make trees)
  • Provide stickers, if you have any available that would fit with the theme of the mural (animals, nature scenes, etc.)

Implementation

  1. Caregivers and staff assist children with adding to the mural in various ways using crayons or markers, placing stickers, and gluing on various cutouts and nature scenes—there is no wrong way to add to the mural!
  2. You can provide a specific theme for the mural, if desired (for example, a rainforest theme) or just let the kids and caregivers work away on their portion of the mural as they see fit!
  3. Optional: Hang the mural somewhere in the library or the program room for kids to see their creation

Book Suggestions

Carson Crosses Canada by Linda Bailey

Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson

I Give You the World by Stacey McCleary

Life by Cynthia Rylant

Splish, Splash, Foxes Dash! by Geraldo Valério

Thank You, Earth by April Pulley Sayre

A Walk in the Forest by Maria Dek

You Are Never Alone by Elin Kelsey

Download Instructions

Images

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Tissue Paper Rainbow

Craft

Ages 0-3

15 minutes

Tissue Paper Rainbow

Description

Create a rainbow using tissue paper.

Competencies

  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Planning skills
  • Creative expression

Materials

Preparation

  • Cut the tissue paper into small squares and rectangles
  • Prepare the room for a program that uses glue

Implementation

  1. Provide each participant with a rainbow template and scraps of tissue paper
  2. Participants glue the pieces of tissue paper onto the corresponding part of the rainbow

Book Suggestions

I Give You the World by Stacey McCleary

Picture the Sky by Barbara Reid

Summer Colour! by Diana Murray

Download Instructions

Download Rainbow Template

Images

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Tracing Shadows

Short Activity

Ages 3-5

20 minutes

Tracing Shadows

Description

Use shadows or reflections of light as a drawing prompt.

Competencies

  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Artistic expression
  • Eye-hand coordination

Materials

  • Paper
  • An object for each participant to create a shadow or an interesting light pattern (e.g. glass cup, toy, stuffed animal)
  • Drawing utensils (pencils, markers, highlighters, pencil crayons)
  • Optional: flashlights

Implementation

  1. Use sunlight coming in from windows or another light source to create a shadow or light pattern; alternatively, dim the lights and use flashlights
  2. Place your object on a piece of paper and move it around until you like the shadow or light pattern it creates
  3. Trace the lines of the shadows or light patterns
  4. Use your imagination to add more detail after tracing

Book Suggestions

Drawn from Nature by Helen Ahpornsiri

Mountains of the World by Dieter Braun

The Night the Forest Came to Town by Charles Ghigna

Download Instructions

Images

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Wacky Flowers

Craft

Ages 3-5

20 minutes

Wacky Flowers

Description

Make a flower with fun, colourful petals.

Competencies

  • Creative and imaginative thinking
  • Development of fine motor skills

Materials

Preparation

  • Collect various discarded magazines with fun and interesting pictures
  • Print and cut out the petal templates
  • Print out the flower template
  • Prepare the room for a program that uses glue

Implementation

  1. Participants use the petal templates to trace around five images or scenes in magazines of their choosing
  2. Participants cut out the images from the magazines with caregiver or staff assistance as needed
  3. Participants glue five or six petals onto the flower template
  4. If desired, allow participants to cut out felt to use for the stem and stamen
  5. If desired, allow participants to cut out petals in any size they want (e.g. long and skinny), without using the template

Book Suggestions

The Digger and the Flower by Joseph Kuefler

The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall

I Love You Like…by Lori Joy Smith

Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson

A Season of Flowers by Michael Garland

Seed School: Growing Up Amazing by Joan Holub

Summer Color! by Diana Murray

Wild Ideas by Elin Kelsey

Download Instructions

Download Petal and Stem Templates

Images

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Wild Bridges

Short Activity

Ages 6-8

20 minutes

Wild Bridges

Description

Design and create bridges inspired by nature.

Competencies

  • Working collaboratively
  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Planning skills
  • Problem solving

Materials

  • Plastic building blocks, craft sticks, or any other material suitable for building
  • Glue
  • Optional: shoeboxes, building blocks or books
  • Optional: Bristol board, playdough and books if attempting the “Test a Truss” experiment (see Implementation Step 4)

Preparation

  • Prepare the room for a program that uses glue
  • Print out or photocopy pictures of different types of bridges, such as beam, arch, suspension, and truss, or use the bridge template

Implementation

1.   Participants attempt to create the bridge of choice using Lego, craft sticks, or any other material suitable for building

2.   If desired, set up two shoeboxes or blocks or books as far apart as you want the bridge to span and attempt to bridge the gap

3.   When your bridge is complete (and the glue is dry, if necessary), test it with objects of varying weights to see how strong your design is; analyze your bridge and rebuild it so it will hold more weight, if needed

4.   For an added STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) challenge, attempt the “Test a Truss” experiment on page 21 of Wild Buildings and Bridges by Etta Kaner, also copied here:

  1. Make 10 or more 2.5 cm balls of playdough (a little smaller than ping-pong balls)
  2. Stand two piles of books 18 cm apart
  3. Place two strips of Bristol board (15 cm x 30 cm), one on top of the other, across the gap to form a bridge. How many balls of playdough do the strips hold?
  4. Accordion-fold one of the strips of Bristol board lengthwise. Place it across the gap with the other (flat) strip on top. How many balls does your bridge hold now?
  5. Talking point: This experiment demonstrates the strength of the Truss bridge

Book Suggestions

Rivers, Seas and Oceans by Mack

Wild Buildings and Bridges by Etta Kaner

Download Instructions

Images

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