Tot School

Explorers Extraordinaire


Recently, we borrowed Fancy Nancy: Explorers Extraordinaire from the library and I have to say, the Fancy Nancy series is one of my favorites. Her character is so over the top “girlie” while still being a rough and tumble kind of kid that it suits my own little fancy Nancy perfectly.  Also, in an effort to be “fancy”, the character of Nancy uses a wide range of language you don’t typically see in books for this age range.  This book specifically includes the words mature, frantic, territory, observe, fragile, lepidopterist, fascinating, petite, iridescent, aroma, chrysalis and deciduous.  I think it’s awesome that M is being exposed to such vocabulary(always with an explanation of what it means).

Inspired by Fancy Nancy’s own Explorers Extraordinaire club, we decided to have our own outdoor adventures this week. It was a happy coincidence that this week was also Earth Day!

As in the book, we went searching to see what we could find in nature. To do this, I created a scavenger hunt printable that listed items we were looking for. Each item had a picture along with the word underneath and at the bottom I listed out colors to look for as well. We were looking for: a tree, bird, flower, shadow, ant, bike, spiderweb, clouds, stick that looks like the letter y, pine cone, two similar looking stones and a squirrel. The colors included: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, black and white.


The scavenger hunt list was so simple to put together! I used Microsoft word and put a clip art picture above each word. At the bottom, I typed out the names of the colors we were looking for and highlighted each in their respective color. You can create your own custom hunt or download mine using the link below.  It was so quick and easy, I’m inspired to do more scavenger hunts in the future.


Even with the chilly weather, the kids had a blast running around looking for the items. They found most of them, even picking through a few sticks to come up with one that looked like Y.


Surprisingly though, the ones that I thought were going to be super easy proved difficult. Looking into our tree filled backyard, you will usually see multiple squirrels jumping from branch to branch. I’ll blame it on the weather but we couldn’t find a single squirrel (or ant) yesterday! The spiderweb also proved elusive but didn’t diminish their enthusiasm. M has already asked if we can go back outside tomorrow to finish our hunt.

M was very excited to cross things off as she found them!
M was very excited to cross things off as she found them!


We also spend time making tasty treats for our feathered friends to enjoy. In honor of Earth Day, we made a bird feeder by recycling an empty yogurt container. You can see how it came together here.


Inspired by a recipe found in the Explorer’s Extraordinaire book, we made some other bird snacks to put outside as well. To do this, we took sandwich bread and a cookie cutter to cut out some fun shapes (we made flowers and apples). After leaving the bread out overnight to harden, I pushed a straw through the top to make a hole for string. Then the kids spread peanut butter on and sprinkled it with bird seed.

our very own fancy nancy hard at work :)
our very own fancy Nancy hard at work 🙂

We hung them up in various spot throughout the backyard for the animals to enjoy – I have a feeling the squirrels with enjoy these just as much as the birds.


I asked M how else she wanted to celebrate Earth Day and suggested we plant a tree. As always, she had a very clear idea of what she wanted and said no to the tree, that she would instead be in charge of recycling. How could I say no to that? So M has helped rinse our empty containers and put them outside in our designated recycling bin this week. With Earth Day come and gone, I’m curious to see how long she stays interested in recycling…

How do you explore the outdoors with your little one?

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