What Is This Activity?
How many different kinds of plants and animals live in your neighborhood? You might be surprised by the answer! In this scavenger hunt bingo game, your child will document the range of living things in your neighborhood.
What Are Kids Learning?
- Biodiversity is the variety of living things in a given place.
- There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist in different places on land and in water.
Activity 60 minutes
Part A Bingo!
Talk with your child about the plants and animals that live in your neighborhood. Make it a challenge by naming as many plants and animals as you can in one minute! Jot down the names of the organisms your child identifies in your field notebook. Then, grab your ''Biodiversity Bingo!'' handouts, pencils, and field notebooks and head outdoors.
- Go over the items on the bingo board. You might need to explain to your child that ''animals with 6 legs'' are insects, such as ants, ladybugs and bees; ''animals with 8 legs'' are spiders; and ''animals with 2 legs'' can be either birds or people.
- Explain the rules of bingo: cross off items on the bingo board if you see them as you explore your neighborhood. When you have crossed off five in a row, shout ''BINGO!'' TIP: You don't need to pick plants or pick up bugs to prove you've found them; just observe and check them off on the bingo board. Maybe you'll even find something so awesome you'll want to look some more, even after you've checked if off the list!
- Don't be afraid to get muddy! Get down on hands and knees to look for insects in cracks in the sidewalk or in the grass. If you have a place where your child can dig in the ground, show how to gently turn over the soil to look for worms or other organisms. Find branches that hang low enough so your child can reach the leaves. Show how to gently touch the trees, flowers, and, if possible, worms and insects you find.
- If your child quickly finds five in a row, challenge him or her to fill in the whole board.
Part B What Lives in our Neighborhood?
When you're all done, have a look at your child's bingo board. Which items were the easiest to find? The hardest?
Talk with your child about biodiversity - the variety of living things found in a given place.
- How many plants and animals did you name at the beginning of this game? How many different kinds of living things did you find? Does this surprise you?
- Did you know there was so much variety in our neighborhood before you played ''Biodiversity Bingo?''
Explore Some More
Zoom in on Plants
Return to some of the plants you and your family crossed off on your boards and make drawings of them in your field notebook. Be sure to show identifying features, such as the color and number of petals the flowers have, the size and shape of leaves, and what the stems look like. Ask your child to describe and compare the plants. Are they smooth? Hairy? Green? Big leaves or small leaves? What are the leaves shaped like?
What's that Plant?
Try to find an illustrated guide to the trees and flowering plants in your region, and identify by name some of the trees and flowers you found. The Arbor Day Foundation has an online tree identification field guide. The National Audubon Society also publishes a variety of online nature guides and apps as well.
Collect leaves, acorns, twigs, and any other natural items that catch your child's eye (be sure that you collect only plant material that has fallen to the ground and that you do not pick live plants). Back indoors, pull out paper, glue sticks, and other craft supplies. Have your child make the base of a wreath by folding an 8 x 11'' piece of paper in half lengthwise. Cut a large half-circle along the outer edges, then cut a smaller half-circle along the middle of the fold (when opened, the paper should look like a ring). Decorate the paper rings with the items you collected outside and hang somewhere in your home.