Tallying Nature 


‘I appreciate the countless wonders in the natural environment.

I am observant, present, and careful.’

This is an invitation to incorporate

a lesson on tallying into your nature walk.





A clipboard (Or attach your paper to a hard cover children’s book using a rubber band for a DIY clipboard)



Number chart (optional)


Introduce your child to the idea of taking “data” while you go on a nature walk or walk around the block.

Start by showing your child how to draw a T-chart on a piece of paper

Decide on 2-4 things you want to focus on observing (should be things that can be observed multiple times on a single walk. Examples: dandelions a specific kind of tree, animals such as birds, squirrels, or dogs, or human-made landmarks such as stop signs, mailboxes, or street signs

Draw and write those items in the left column of your T-chart

Show your child how to make tally marks to represent data.

















Show them how to make a slash through a 4 set in order to make it into a 5 set. Have them practice tallying a few household items to check if they understand the concept.

Go on your nature walk and support your child as they tally for each observation target.  

When you get home count the total number of tally marks for each observation target.  Identify the numbers on your number chart and practice writing those numerals.

 Holistic Engagement

After the walk introduce <, >, and = symbols. Invite your child to make comparisons with their observation targets.

Go on this walk a few times throughout the week, choosing different routes. Keep of running tally throughout the week of observation targets.

Questions to Ask

How did you choose your observable targets?

What target do you think we will see the most of?

Which target had the most tallies?

Can you read all of your tallies? If not, what strategies can you use for writing more clearly next time?

Mindfulness Prompts

Say a word of thanks each time you count a target (especially if it is a living plant or animal)  

“Look upon the world, open your eyes wide, turn your head side to side, slowly. See everything and nothing in particular. “

Walking in the Woods