Shapes in Nature

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My son loves being outdoors – whether it’s digging in the dirt, playing in the sand, splashing in puddles, going for walks, smelling flowers, looking for wildlife, or just running around.

Among his favorite activities are scavenger hunts.  We’ve enjoyed photo scavenger hunts and sound hunts.  This time we went on a hunt for shapes in nature.

Finding Shapes in Nature

I created a document with many shapes we might be able to find outside.  I included a square, a circle, an oval, an arrow, a diamond, a star, a triangle, a heart, and a rectangle.  The name of each shape was added as well.  You can download the document here.

Before going outside, we looked over our paper and practiced naming the shapes.  As we walked out the door, Aiden first noticed the bricks on the house.  He was excited that he found his first shape – a rectangle.  Now bricks aren’t a part of nature, but they are something you can see outside.  I encouraged this find as well as any other shapes he saw regardless of their origin.

We started our hunt in the backyard.  Aiden found a dandelion with seeds ready to be blown away.  I asked him what shape it was.  He said, “a circle!”  He held the dandelion up to the paper to confirm his thoughts.  We were off to a great start.  Hunting around the yard, we found lots of different shapes.  Then, we took a walk around the neighborhood and found even more.  Below is just a sample of the shapes we found.

Shapes are all around us in nature.  Here are some suggestions for finding them.

  • Look for shapes in leaves.  We found oval-shaped leaves, heart-shaped leaves, diamond-shaped leaves, and arrow-shaped leaves.
  • Examine flowers and their parts.  We saw circles and hearts in the flowers.
  • Grab some rocks and talk about their shapes.  We found a wide variety of rock shapes.  Most common were round, oval, or square shapes.
  • Search for shapes within things.  We discovered holes in leaves that were various shapes.  We found fallen sticks and branches that were crossed into different shapes.
  • Hunt for shapes in the clouds, in the grass, in the trees, or in the dirt.

Depending on the age of your children, you might want to start by pointing out the shapes you see in nature.  “Oh, look the leaf is in the shape of an oval.”  “What shape is this rock?”  Compare the printed shapes with the nature objects to help determine their shapes.  If you see a shape nearby, ask “Can you find something that is a heart shape?”  Lead them in the right direction until they find it.  “The heart shape I see is green.”  “It is near the ground.”

Enjoy your time exploring and finding shapes in nature.

Take a peek at some of these other shapely posts by the Quirky Mommas:

Trisha About Trisha

Trisha is a stay at home mom to her 3-year old son, Aiden. She writes about their adventures at Inspiration Laboratories, a blog dedicated to encouraging learning through creativity and play. Trisha is an educator with a passion for science literacy. It is never too early to start encouraging science learning (or any kind of learning for that matter). Follow along on Facebook, Twitter as @inspire_labs, Google+, and Pinterest.

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