Outdoor nature hike collecting and sorting in preschool

Since day one, our students have been wanting to go on a nature hike in the woods.  So what did we do? We went on a nature hike (on a slightly rainy day no less)…

Each child was given a paper bag to collect nature items. The popular collections included rocks, acorns, and sticks. We had a few leaves but since our leaves are not quite falling yet – we will take another walk on a fall day for collecting leaves…

The children have been collecting acorns on a daily basis around here and taking them home in their pockets, but today we put them in our bags…

After we completed our collections, we went into the outdoor classroom and set our bags out by our sorting baskets…

Later, the children sorted all the items that were in their bags into the baskets. Keep in mind that we have been collecting items to take home often so leaving the items they found in the baskets was no big deal to the children…

That was all we had the time for today but throughout the year, we will continue to add to our collections and use them for various kinds of learning and play in the classroom…

By |2011-09-13T06:00:31+00:00September 13th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Little Wonders' Days September 13, 2011 at 10:22 am - Reply

    My kids love to take fall walks and collect things. I never thought about having them sort the items before!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm - Reply

      Haha – we sort EVERYTHING around here:)

  2. andiejaye September 13, 2011 at 11:39 am - Reply

    this looks like so much fun! i always find it fascinating to see what littles treasure…

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm - Reply

      To the children – everything they find is like a treasure!

  3. laura September 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    I love the sorting idea, too. I am jealous that you get acorns…I had to buy fake ones for our fall unit.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 13, 2011 at 2:44 pm - Reply

      Haha – oh my, we have so many acorns! They come down like rain around here.

  4. Andrea September 13, 2011 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    I love that – I like taking the kids for a nature walk, but I love how this extends it just a bit more afterward. I can’t wait for a nice day to do this soon!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 13, 2011 at 2:44 pm - Reply

      i would have waited for a not so rainy day – but I promised the children and they wanted me to keep that promise:)

  5. Vicki Blacken September 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    Hi! Your acorns are wonderful! I wish we had them near our preschool. We also take lots of nature walks to collect things this time of the year. Mostly, we see slugs and wooly bear caterpillars. This week, we’ve collected some beautiful cones (pine and fir). Do you think your students would pack up and send us some acorns? We would enjoy sending you a box of our cones for your projects. It might be another fun exchange, like the leaf exchange you’ve done.

  6. abbie September 22, 2011 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Love the idea of sorting the things they collected. Looks like great fun.

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