If you’ve read lately you know that we are most of the way through our Nature Walk Series. So far we have discussed tools that can help keep kids engaged, finding shapes and letters, and how to get more from your walks. In this post I want to share ways that you can explore your senses while walking.
The purpose of this series is to encourage you to not only take walks with your kids, but to also interact with nature and use it to learn many different things. My hope is that you will find that you can discover, explore, and discuss many topics while you are walking, and that you can take your school topics on the road as you dive into nature.
Talking about and exploring the five senses is a very important and really fun activity for younger kids. With my preschoolers, I’ve found that it’s important to teach them what the senses are and what part of the body we use for those senses. All of this you can do while you are trekking through your favorite park or trail.
Exploring Your Senses
What comes to mind when you think about exploring your senses in nature?
- birds chirping
- the smell of fresh-cut grass
- the warmth of the sun on your face
- the taste of a fresh picked blueberry
Those are all great examples, but there is SO much more that nature can offer if you look hard enough.
Sounds are everywhere in nature if you stop to listen. That’s one thing I love to do is make the kids STOP, get real quiet, and listen! Then, we try to identify what they heard. Was it a horn beeping, a bird chirping, the wind blowing in the trees, or a dog barking nearby?
On a recent nature walk we were able to hear the waves slapping against the shore long before we could even see the water!
Again, this is an easy one on a nature walk. There is so much to see! The key is getting your kids to really observe what is around them. You can do this by playing games like I Spy while you walk. Or give them a little scavenger hunt and see who can find all the objects first!
It may be difficult in the beginning, but there are ways that you can slowly train your kids to really pay attention and see what is around them.
As long as you are careful and aware of potential hazards, there is so much that can be explored through touch in nature. Have your kids feel the bark of different trees or lay down in the grass. Stop and spend some time exploring moss, flowers, or leaves.
Talk about the way these different things feel. Incorporate vocabulary like wet, dry, rough, smooth, hard, soft, etc.
When exploring this sense, nature might be the absolute best place! You can compare the smell of different flowers or bushes. You can have your kids stop and take a deep breath and then try to figure out what it is that they smell (Name that Smell). You would be surprised at how many things have a different smell like trees or dirt.
This one is a bit harder unless you come across a patch of edible berries! You can still use your other senses and talk about what different things might taste like. Or take a walk at a nearby orchard and pick some fresh fruit! That will really give your taste buds a treat!
While nature walks may already be your “thing”, I encourage you to add something new to your next nature walk. Play a game or find a new way to explore, you never know what you might find or learn. If nature walks are NOT your thing, I hope that you’ll give it a chance. Walking, talking, and observing is such a great way to get some fresh air and learn with your little ones!
Until next time,