NATURE WALKS—WAKING YOUR CHILD’S SENSES
Any walk can be a nature walk! For us grownups, walking might be about getting someplace– but the little ones still see a walk as a journey. That journey is full of new sights and sounds; with help from you, your child can practice using and honing her senses. She’ll pay attention to all that is around her and learn about the world as she walks.
A NATURE WALK IN THE WOODS
What to Listen For. As you walk, encourage your child to identify sounds. Here are some things to listen for:
- ANIMALS: Birds, squirrels, lizards, snakes, insects, rabbits
- UNDER YOUR FEET: The crunch of leaves, the rustle of pine needles, the soft sounds of moss, the grating sounds of rocks, the stomping sound your boots make on dirt.
- IN THE AIR: Listen for wind, running water, rain. Listen to how the air sounds different when you are crouched down in a hollow versus when you’re on a promontory with a view.
What to Smell. Stop to sniff along the way. Ask your child to close her eyes and put words to what she smells.
- GREEN THINGS: Flowers, grasses, leaves, ferns
- BROWN THINGS: Earth, bark, sand, stones
What to See. Watch for the hidden signs of life in the forest, and watch for natural processes.
- LIVING THINGS: Watch for spider webs, rodent holes, birds’ nests, beaver dams, or paw prints.
- WEATHER: Watch for clouds, wind, the color of the sky, signs of recent rain, or the angle of the sun.
- WATER: Watch how water flows downhill, and watch how it puddles and pools. Look for signs of recent washouts or cracked earth.
A NATURE WALK IN TOWN
What to Listen For. There are interesting sounds in the city, too! Here are some things to listen for:
- ANIMALS: Birds, squirrels, insects, dogs and cats
- ON THE ROAD: Listen to how different cars sound and see if you can guess which cars are biggest. Listen for bicycles, scooters and skateboards.
- IN THE AIR: Listen for wind, running water, rain. Listen to sounds coming out of a shop and see if you can guess what kind of shop it is.
What to Smell. Close your eyes as you smell and talk about what you are sensing!
- GREEN THINGS: Many neighborhoods feature landscaping that smells lovely. Search out the flowers that smell the nicest and see if you can put names to them using a guide.
- CITY THINGS: Smells wafting from different restaurants can be enticing. Stop inside a bakery or coffee shop just to take a whiff.
What to See. Watch for the hidden signs of life, and watch for natural processes—but keep an eye out for people, too! They are always doing something interesting.
- LIVING THINGS: Watch for spider webs, rodent holes, birds’ nests, and tracks through parks
- WEATHER: Watch for clouds, wind, the color of the sky, signs of recent rain, the angle of the sun and shadows
- PEOPLE: Watch for people doing different kinds of jobs—window washers, mail carriers, bus drivers, waiters, coaches, landscapers, taxi drivers, and painters. What uniforms do they wear? What do they carry? What do they use? How do things look different when they are done?
User: Tom Woodward
Title: Through the Woods
License: CC BY-SA 2.0