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Day 31: Quick nature sketching and a nature riddle

Outdoor activity ideas and inspiration

From mid-March to the end of May 2020, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust (HHLT) posted a simple outdoor activity idea and nature riddle for kids every weekday. Some days we also posted other resources, like downloadable chapters of the Junior Ranger Activity Book.

Created to support parents who found themselves homeschooling during the COVID-19 pandemic, these activity ideas are a great jumping off point for any outdoor adventure. Click here for a list with links to all 50 activity ideas.

Nature riddle

What small green and brown creature has very long legs, lays its eggs in a big jelly-like mass and loves to swim in your neighborhood pond? Click here to read more about this fascinating animal.

Quick nature sketching

Botanists and nature explorers often do a lot of sketching and drawing in the field to help them remember and identify the things they see. Sometimes, especially if what they’re drawing is on the move, they have to be able to draw things really quickly! Here’s a drawing exercise for you to try out. Take a few pieces of paper and a pencil, go outdoors and find something you’d like to draw. To make it a little easier, try to find something pretty small that doesn’t move, like a pine cone, flower, stick or leaf. Got it? Good! Now you’re ready to draw!

  1. To start, look at your object really closely, like you’re trying to memorize everything about it. Do this for at least a minute.
  2. When you’re ready, put the object somewhere out of sight (no cheating!) and see if you can draw it completely from memory! Take a few minutes to do this.
  3. When you’re done with your drawing, take your object back out and compare it with your drawing. What did you do well? What could you do better?
  4. Take a moment to study your object again, then hide it and do a second drawing for a few minutes. Remember, no cheating!
  5. When you’re done with your second drawing, take a moment to compare the two. Which one looks more like your object? Are there still some things you missed?
  6. Now, with your object in front of you, take one minute to draw it a third time.
  7. Still with your object in front of you, now take 45 seconds to draw it again.
  8. Now take 30 seconds!
  9. Now 15 seconds!
  10. Now 10 seconds!
  11. Now for the hardest one—five seconds! Can you do it?
  12. Take a moment to compare all of your drawings. The last few might look a little silly, but do you think you still might be able to tell what the object was next week, even with your last five-second drawing?

Feel free to try this a few more times with different objects. Learning to draw quickly and accurately can be pretty difficult, so don’t worry if it’s hard at first! Try to get your family members involved if you like. At the end, gather all of your objects and see if you can all figure out which object goes with which five-second drawing.

This activity idea contributed by Emma Levy.