Garden Detectives

Do you know where you can find nature in your outdoor space? Are all your plants in one spot, or across the site? This activity will encourage learners to look closely at what they can find in their grounds and begin to introduce how different habitats support a range of different living things. This activity can be done on a large scale, across the whole of your learning site, or within a small area, encouraging learners to ‘really look’ at what they can find, even in the smallest of places! 

Learners will be encouraged to explore what is natural and what is human-made within their outdoor space. 

< 30 minutes


What you need


  • Maps of your grounds
  • Green and red dot stickers
  • Clipboards 
  • Outside
Useful guidance

Step by step

  1. Before starting the activity, take learners around your outdoor space, asking them to look around them closely. You can prompt them to think deeply about the space by using ‘I wonder...’ phrases such as: 
    ‘I wonder where I could find something living’ 
    ‘I wonder where the bees would be’ 
    ‘I wonder where a hedgehog might live’ 
    ‘I wonder if that is non-natural' 
  2. Ensure to introduce the words 'natural' and 'non-natural'. For younger learners, 'living' and 'non-living' can be used. 
  3. After learners have explored, ask them to form a circle. Explain that when you shout 'natural’ they need to run to touch something natural. When you shout non-natural' they will need to run and touch somewhere or something non-natural / human-made. 


Invite learners to reflect on this activity by asking:

  • Did you find more natural things than non-natural? Is there anywhere where you think there should be more natural things?