Backyard Nature Activities: Faces in the Forest

This activity is taught in Hike NS’s Re-Connecting with Nature workshop offered each year in locations throughout the province. This is a one-day, hands-on workshop for adults held mostly outdoors to improve your ability to lead and share an appreciation and understanding of nature with children and youth. We plan to have a schedule available in late June for workshops hopefully scheduled in the fall, if possible.

Faces in the Forest 

Synopsis: Each participant receives a picture frame and uses it to find natural faces in tree trunks, rocks, on the ground, etc. 

Set Up & Props: A picture frame (approximately 24 by 30 cm) for each person made of wood or cardboard. The site can be flexible. Find a demo face ahead of time when you scout the area. 


1. Intro: “Have you ever noticed that there are a lot of faces out here in the forest? So many of the creatures, and trees and things around us actually have faces that you may not have known about! And…they portray many different feelings as well!” 

2. Practice Feeling Faces: “We can tell people’s different emotions by their facial expressions. Here…let’s practice! Everyone close your eyes, and on the count of three, when we open our eyes, let’s have everyone make a different expression. (Count and then open). Wow! Oh, look at everyone! I see… (name expressions such as happy, sad, angry, surprised, etc).” 

3. Show Some Forest Examples: “Well, the extra challenge for you right now, is to find the faces in the forest AND to try to find different emotions.” (Demonstrate… find and describe a couple of faces in trees or rocks) “Oh look, I see one. What kind of face is the one I found here? How about this one?” 

4. Demonstrate Finding Faces Technique: Since it is hard to see these Faces in the Forest, I have a Character Finder to help. Here’s how to use it: 

1) Hold it at arms-length from you.
2) Look at the object through the frame. 
3) Search for the faces. 

5. Create Partners and Explain Search Task: As you go, remember where you found each face because at the end we are going to ask you to show the coolest face to everyone. Stick together and share your faces with each other. 

6. Participants Search for Faces: Encourage them and remind them to see if they can find different types. 

7. Remind Them to Pick & Prepare to Share Coolest Face 

8. Do Tour of Each Pair’s Coolest Face

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