What do you need?

Find my plant

Summary:  A fun game to play while out exploring nature that will really get your child observing!

Set-up: None
Play: 30 minutes, plus free time in nature
Complexity: Medium, with plenty of scope for extension


  • Notebook
  • Pencils
  • A place in nature that has a lot of diverse plants

What to do

Explore the space, noticing all the different kinds of plants. Point out and discuss the different shapes and colours of the leaves of plants, how they are spaced on the branches, whether there are buds or flowers and so on. Then play “find my plant” in which you each secretly choose one plant and record some observations about it in your notebook. Explain that when you are finished, you are going to use each others’ observations to try and find the plant. For younger children, you might like to record children’s verbal descriptions while they focus on drawing. Remind your child that it is not important to create a perfect artwork, but to use drawing and writing to record facts about the plant that will help others to find it. Afterwards you can also discuss how easy it was to identify the plant, and what were the details that helped you to identify it. You can repeat this game by choosing different plants.


Challenge your child to use words, pictures and numbers in their observation.

Compare your plants – how are they different? Are there any similarities?

Look at patterns of cause and effect – for example, if there are strange marks or holes on your chosen plants, what does your child think might have caused them? Can they see any evidence of the chosen plants having an impact on their surroundings? Are certain leaf shapes or spacing patterns more common among the plants in this place? Why might that be?

What learning does this activity promote?

Curiosity, exploration, recording, writing, drawing, communicating, theorising and explaining.


Dr Vicki Hargraves

Vicki runs our ECE webinar series and also is responsible for the creation of many of our ECE research reviews. Vicki is a teacher, mother, writer, and researcher living in Marlborough. She recently completed her PhD using philosophy to explore creative approaches to understanding early childhood education. She is inspired by the wealth of educational research that is available and is passionate about making this available and useful for teachers.

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