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10 Awesome DIY Outdoor Explorer Packs

by | Sep 18, 2017 | Play in Nature, Wild Activities

So excited to share this guest post with you, written by Amanda White, the creative and innovated educator behind Tykes n Tots Daycare. 

DIY Explorer Backpack KitsThe Reggio Emilia approach has inspired the design and rhythm of my daycare. True to that philosophy, my hope is to create an environment in which the childrens’ minds, hearts and interests are honored – leaving them free to explore and learn through their own investigations. Although this manifests in so many ways throughout our day, one of the best ways to support their inquiry and need for independence has been by creating and utilizing outdoor explorer packs.

This was a collaborative class project in which we designed, collected and assembled our packs together. Below are 10 packs that we started with, but these are by no means a complete, static list. The contents and makeup of our explorer packs is constantly evolving based on my documentation and the needs and interests of the children!

1. Shelter Building Kit

Books on fort and shelter-building, flat bedsheets, clothespins and clips, rope, bungee cords, saws, peelers, lantern, bakers twine, scissors, sticks, rings, tape, small rugs for sitting, a pair of two-way radios.

Shelter Building DIY Explorer Kit

2. Nature Observation Kit

Books about birds, animals, and nature journaling, journal notebook, nature walk checklist, binoculars, magnifying glass, egg carton for collecting nature items.

Nature Investigation Explorer Pack

3. Leaves & Tree Identification Kit

Magnifying glass, pressed and laminated leaves from our property, leaf activity book, field and ID books, ID cards for bark, leaves, and trees.

Leaf and tree identification kit

4. Sketch, Art, & Journaling Kit

Watercolors, jar of water, paintbrushes, colored pencils, sharpener, oil pastels, charcoal pencils, watercolor paper.

Nature art sketching kit

Using Outdoor Explorer Kits

5. Play Kitchen Kit

Mortar & pestle, wooden bowls and platters, cooking and eating utensils, 4” & 6” mini frying pans, mini muffin pans, placemats.

Outdoor Kitchen Explorer Kit

6. Gardening & Planting Kit

Peat moss pots, mini clay pots, plant markers, seeds, garden journal, mats for sitting, books.

DIY Garden Explorer Kit and Bag

7. Insect & Rainbows Kit

Mini clipboard with paper, lidded test tubes for collecting specimens, magnifying bug viewer, magnifying glass, Toob insects of insects we have found on our property, prism, books.

Bug Investigation DIY Explorer Kit

8. Math & Numbers Kit

Measuring tape, ruler, calculators, ten frames with glass gems, wooden numbers, dominoes, playing cards, pad of paper, books including one with various games and activities.
Outdoor Math Explorer Kit

9. Animal Tracks & Scat Kit

Clipboard with paper, footprint and scat ID cards for our local area, books about tracking animals, clay and clay tools for sculpting.

Animal Track DIY Explorer Kit

10. Pirate Map-Making Kit

Clipboard with paper, homemade map of our property, pirate map book for ideas on where to hide treasures, box/treasure.

Map Making DIY Explorer Kit

Encouraging learning and inviting children to explore their interests is an ever-evolving process that includes the child, parent/teacher, and environment in the gathering of information. Because of this, these explorer packs can change depending on the child, the location, and even the season. Would love to see the packs that you come up with. Happy Exploring!

Amanda

10 DIY Outdoor Explorer Packs

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