Today we went on our first excursion for the term – to the Botanical Gardens for a Treasure Trail.
Treasure Trails are usually dumbed down to ensure no child is challenged or engaged – have you ever been to Museum trails? That’s the kind of thing I was expecting.
But I was delightfully surprised and impressed with the Treasure Trail that was put together by the Education officer and her team at the Botanical Gardens.
Each child was given a bag to keep and a clipboard and pencil to borrow. Laid out on the table at the Information Centre was an assortment of tasks sheets. We were encourage to select a range of tasks and to head out into the gardens to complete them.
Amongst our tasks we collected seeds and leaves and identified them (with the expert help of the Garden’s staff), we attended to the sounds around us and listed them, we located, drew and identified bugs and informally measured various plants and trees.
Back at the Information Centre we worked with the staff to describe the tastes, textures and smells of the plants the staff had collected for us to experience. We also had staff available to help us identify the sample seeds and leaves we had collected.
We also observed the native bees, drawing on our previous knowledge of the bees to complete another task sheet.
The staff also arranged several specimens for us to experience in the gardens – a mud wasp nest, a paper wasp nest (both vacant of course), several birds’ nests and a gorgeous rather large snake skin. We had to identify these too.
At the completion of each task the children had their work checked. I appreciated that the staff didn’t baby the children or let them take shortcuts but they were fair, helpful and lovely. Once the task was approved the children were given a voucher. These vouchers could be used at the Treasure Trail Treasure Shop. My little men earned 9 vouchers each during the morning and were thrilled with their shopping experience.
This was the “BEST” treasure trail or hunt we’ve ever participated in. A lot of thought, preparation and expertise went into the morning’s activities.
We had a stack of fun!!