Citizen Science Projects for Kids

This activity has been adapted from the Citizen Scientist project Cloud Observer.

Cloud ID Guide

Identify what type of cloud you are looking at.

My Cloud Watch Diary 

Example template to record your findings.

Cloud Watch
Mātakitia ngā Kapua


Clouds are expressions of the atmosphere’s moods and change across space and time, so observations and photos from people in many places, especially when timed, provide useful “ground truth” information that satellites can’t detect.


Your mission: Observe and collect information about the clouds in your neighbourhood.


What to do:

  • Keep track of overall cloud cover and surface conditions

  • Record location, date, time, area – beach, residential, rural, open park

  • Include cloud types, cloud opacity, sky conditions and visibility

  • Take photos of what you see in the sky.


Share your best cloud photo, noting location, date and time on our Facebook page to be in to win a prize.


This activity has been adapted from the Citizen Scientist project Litterali.

Litter Bug
Te Mū Para


We can use litter data to get companies, organisations and governments to create positive environmental policy changes.


Your mission:

Keep a picture diary of the litter you spot on your daily walk!


What to do:

  • Photograph the litter where you find it

  • Where you found your litter (suburb, City, Country)

  • What type of litter it is (plastic, paper, polyurethane etc.)

  • Is there a brand name visible, i.e., Coke, Pepsi, Starbucks.


Try this activity over the week and compare your results. Is there more or less litter in your neighbourhood? Are there different branded items? Is there more plastic, paper or tin litter?


Share your favourite litter picture, noting location, date and time on our Facebook page to be in to win a prize.


This activity has been adapted from the Citizen Scientist project The Great Kiwi Earthworm Survey.

Earthworm ID Guide

Identify the types of earthworms you have in your backyard.

Earthworm Hunter
Te Kaiwhakangau Noke


Did you know earthworms assist the health of your soil by improving both the drainage and water holding capacity? There are three types of worms with different roles that should be present in your soil, dung earthworms, top-soil earthworms, deep-burrowing earthworms.

Your mission:
Identify the different types of earthworms in your backyard. 

What to do:

  • Collect three spade spits (20x20cm, 30cm deep is ideal, but not necessary)

  • Hand-sort earthworms by crumbling the soil onto a sheet of plastic and looking through the roots. 

  • Put the earthworms in water.

  • Take the earthworms out of water and place onto a paper towel.

  • Look at the colour and size of the adult earthworms.

  • Using the ID Guide, can you identify the different types?

  • Place earthworms on white paper next to a ruler and take a close-up photo out of direct sunlight.

  • Record the number and types of earthworms you found.


Share a photo of the biggest worm you found our Facebook page to be in to win a prize. Do you know what type of earthworm it is?


Information for this activity is sourced from NatGeo Kids.

Ant Reporter
Ripoata Pōpokiriki


Ants are fascinating insects and are easy to find.

Your mission: See if you can find a busy ant colony in your backyard and watch them work.

What to do:

  • Video what your ants are doing and provide commentary as to what you think they are doing.

  • Your commentary can be scientific or completely made up.


Upload your ant video to our Facebook page to be in to win a prize.


Information for this activity is sourced from Citizen Science project Garden Bird Survey.

Garden Bird Identification Poster

Guide to identify types of garden birds. Produced by Landcare Research NZ

Garden Bird Survey
Whakatūtira Manu


We can learn a lot about the environment we live in by collecting data about the types of common garden bird species we find in different areas.


Your mission:

Collect information about the types and numbers of common garden birds in our own backyard.


What do:

  • Capture a short video or photo of the birds you find

  • Write down the date, time, location

  • What are the weather conditions?

  • What was the bird doing - perched in a tree, flying, making a nest?


Try this activity on different days and compare your notes. Are there different birds visiting on different days. Share your favourite video/photo to our Facebook page and tell us about your bird to be in to win a prize.

Information for this activity is sourced from Citizen Science project Globe at Night.

Star Spotter
Kaimātakitaki Whetū


We see the stars most clearly when the night is very dark but increasing amounts of light pollution are affecting our night sky. By monitoring night glow and observing the stars, we can help scientists collect information that enables them to understand the effects of light pollution on plants and animals.


Your mission:

Collect information about light pollution by making observations of the night sky.


What do:

  • Take pictures of the night sky in the same location, at the same time each night.

  • Record the time and location and note whether you are in a residential, rural, urban setting.

  • Is the sky cloudy or clear?

  • What are the weather conditions?

  • Are there streetlights (how many), trees or structures in your observation area?

  • Are some parts of the night sky brighter than others?

  • Can you map the stars you’ve found using the star chart provided on the Globe at Night website?


Make a slideshow of your findings and share to our Facebook page to be in to win a prize.