Monday, July 23, 2012

45 Ways to Awaken a Child's Senses Outdoors



When toddlers are outside exploring the world it is important for them to do so while awakening their five senses. As a teacher, I saw firsthand how my students were multi-sensory learners and had different learning styles in the classroom.  Toddlers are no different.  In addition to simply seeing objects in nature, there are so many benefits when they are also able to touch, taste, hear, and smell what they are exploring. 

Using your five senses helps, not only with language development (just think about all of the adjectives they are learning as you and your child describe the objects they are examining!), but also with cognition and avoiding misconceptions later in life.  Just think if a child has never looked or touched an insect up close.  Maybe they have the notion that all bugs bite or that they can talk just like the ones on T.V.  By exploring them with a parent, they can get a firsthand account of how light insects are, the way that the move, how gentle they can be, and so on. 

Think about ways that you can explore with your child during the any of the four seasons.  There is so much out there to inspect and experience as they grow.  Below is a list of 45 ideas that will give you some inspiration they next time you head outdoors! 
      

1. Go on a sound hunt. ~Inspiration Laboratories


3. Grab a pair of binoculars and encourage bird watching.


5. Lie in the grass and watch the clouds go by.





8. Visit the Farmer's Market.

9. Catch fireflies.

10. Play "I Spy" while you're lounging by the pool.

11. Fly a kite on a windy day.







15. Sit on the porch and watch the rain fall.

16. Make a wind chime to hang on the porch. 



20. Listen to the water bubbling as you are dipping your toes.

21. Go on a bug hunt.


23. Snap pictures during your walk.



25. Pick berries and taste them along the way.

26. Play in the mud (with reptiles!). ~Little Moments


28. Paint with items found in nature, like leaves or flowers.

29. Plant herbs.





31. Create a nature collage on contact paper. ~Adventures in Reading with Kids

32. Build something with ice cubes. ~Train Up a Child 

33. Create a list of items found in nature and go on a scavenger hunt.

34. Have fun with an outdoor color match. ~Inner Child Fun

35. Read a book while being warmed by the sun.

36. Ask your child to paint a picture of something in your backyard - a flower, a cloud, or even a tree.

37. Sing songs (or nursery rhymes) relating to nature while you take a stroll down the street.








42. Make a whistle with a blade of grass.  ~Like Mama ~ Like Daughter





44. Walk barefoot in the grass.

45. Create a nature display in a jar. ~The Golden Gleam


So, be sure to remember to help your child awaken their five senses the next time you head outdoors to play or explore.  I would love to hear any additional ideas that you have to add to our list!



Here are some related posts to check out as well:




 Thank you so much for stopping by! If you enjoyed this post, please join us on Facebook. You can explore our boards on Pinterest if you are looking for more ways to foster family connections through play and inspiration! 

40 comments:

  1. What a lovely collection of outdoor sensorial experiences! Thank you for including us! Will be pinning!

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    1. Thanks, Rebekah! I appreciate the pin. :)

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  2. I agree with Rebekah. What a lovely list. I want to try them all this summer. I LOVE the photo of your son's feet looking into the water. Thank you for sharing. :)

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    1. Thanks so much Allison! There are a few here that I can't wait to try too. :)

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  3. What a beautiful list. I gave a workshop on the importance of movement in learning and touched on the importance of awakening the senses. These are all lovely suggestions!

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    1. That sounds like a wonderful workshop! I agree that movement in learning is an important topic. :)

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  4. Gina, these are so incredible! Simple but so sensory. Thank you for reminding us that children need to be exposed to the out-of-doors and that time outside can be so much fun!

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    1. Thanks so much, Katherine! We are having so much fun exploring different ways of outdoor play! :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Trisha! I can't wait to check a few off of the list that are new to us!

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  6. This is a fantastic list to keep on hand when I am short on ideas. I especially love the nature made musical instruments. That is a perfect way to still enjoy the outdoors without having to venture out into the 108° weather we have been having lately!

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    1. Thanks, Crystalyn! We had so much fun making those instruments. Grady just loves music! :) Try to stay cool!

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  7. What a lovely list! The herbed playdough has been something I've been wanting to do for awhile - maybe we finally will.

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! Be sure to let me know how it turns out if you give it a whirl!

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  8. What a wonderful list! Thank you so much for included us! :)

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    1. Thank you for the inspiration! :)

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  9. This is a great list. I love the idea of using herbs in homemade play dough.

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    1. Thanks, Kelly! I'm hoping to try out another batch soon with a few different herbs in it. :)

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  10. These are so great to get outside and enjoy it's beauty! I'm glad to be a new follower from a blog hop. Feel free to follow me back at www.iheartpears.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! Looking forward to exploring your blog! :)

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  11. Those are great ideas. I would not have thought to mix herbs into play dough. That is a great way to add to the sensory experience. Thank you for sharing this post on Artsy Play Wednesday on Capri + 3.

    : 0 ) Theresa

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    1. Thank you! My little one just loves playing with playdough and the herbs gave it an added touch!

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  12. Great post love the ideas you have listed. Thanks for sharing. (Momma's Fun World)

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  13. so many ways to help a child explore nature! thanks for linking it up to tip-toe thru tuesday! *pinned*

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    1. We are just having so much fun out there! :)

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  14. I love this list! Thanks for sharing with Learning Laboratory =)

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  15. You have put together such a fantastic list! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Keitha! We're looking forward to heading out this week to try a few new ideas that were shared!

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  16. Saving this to my favorites!!! Just the ideas I needed for an outdoor children's ministry I am starting..thank you !!!

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    1. I'm so glad that you found some ideas that were useful, Bonnie! Thanks so much for stopping by. I would love to hear about how the children do with the activities during the ministry!

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  17. What a great resource! Thanks so much for sharing with Tuesday Tots!

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  18. So many great ideas. I really like the nature display jar. That was beautiful! Thanks for linking up at Mom's Library!

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    1. Thanks! I can't wait to try the nature display jar, too!

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  19. These are some great ideas! I know my boys would love this and see it as an adventure! Thank you for posting on Saturday Show and Tell. I can't wait for what you'll be posting this week, hope to see you back!
    -Mackenzie
    http://www.cheeriosandlattes.com

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    1. Thanks, Cheerios and Lattes! My little one has been enjoying his time outdoors!

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  20. Fab ideas! My children love playing in the mud! Thanks for linking to Science Sparks xx

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