Take 9 in nature

Jo writes: As a mum of two teenage children it can sometimes be hard to convince them to step away from their screens and head out for a walk at this time.  So yesterday, the kids and I ventured out as far as our garden!  I created a memory grid for them (they had to shut their eyes and listen to the birds while I did this).

The memory grid game is a fun activity that you can do in any outdoor space, whilst on your daily exercise or in your own garden – just use what you find.  You can do it on your own or with your household.  The process is great for taking a more detailed look at what is around you, you find yourself lost in the moment and maybe even questioning “what IS that plant?” prompting you go back and research it to find out once and for all!

What you need to collect:

4 sticks to make up the grid

9 items from nature
(preferably from the ground, rather than picked, but if picking please ensure it is there in abundance)

Nature’s memory grid

Once you have all your items, create a 9-cell grid with your 4 sticks and place one item in each grid.  Let the other players inspect the items for a few minutes– shape, colour, smell, feel – Their task is to find the same items and place them in the grid exactly as they were shown.

Once they have had a bit of time, cover over the grid, or take a photo and then remove the items.  As I said, you can do this with yourself because I’m blowed if I could remember how the grid was set out after a few minutes of it being removed.

If you are feeling kind, you can allow a few revisits to the items to double-check that they have indeed found exactly the same item – after all, one leaf looks pretty much the same as another right?! Well it does to my 15 year old but for once I saw him studying the form and texture of one leaf versus another.

In our family, this activity extended the time my kids might otherwise have spent really exploring the plants in our garden.  It prompted questions and observations about the structure of some of the leaves – were they indeed the same? It encouraged discussion about our responsibility to preserve nature for everyone and not pick wildflowers when on a walk for example. It also prompted a discussion about just how many dandelions I have in my garden for which the bees are truly grateful right now, even if I’m not!

Happy gardening!

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