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Noticing Nature Walk

We thought we’d start this blog with a joke related to using your senses to focus on nature:

Woodpecker: “Knock, knock”

Owl: “Who, who?”

Woodpecker: “Knock, knock”

Owl: “Who, who?”

Woodpecker:”Knock, knock”….haha!

This activity is about observing and connecting with the environment with your senses. All you need is a place to stroll in nature asking your children questions that encourage them to focus on their surroundings. To make it even more interesting, you can ask your kids these questions just as you get out of your car in the parking lot and then repeat the same questions when you’re on the Path.

Seeing questions- What can you see around, above and below you?

Smelling questions- What can you smell? Is it leafy, muddy, fruity?

Hearing questions- What can you hear? Is there a bird? Is it the sound of the wind? Here in Cape Breton, kids love listening for the commonly called “Cheeseburger bird”, aka the black-capped chickadee. Throughout the year, they frequently call to one another with their distinctive “Cheeeeeze-burger, Cheeeeeze-burger….” Stay tuned for future blogs on bird songs and identification.

Feeling and touching questions- How does your body feel? Is it warm from the sun or chilled from the shade or a light breeze? Is the ground beneath you slippery, rough, or smooth? Invite your children to pick up rocks, leaves or sticks off the ground ask them to describe how they feel to the touch.

Take pictures along your walk, and you can revisit them with your kids when you return home. Reflect on the walk and encourage your children to draw pictures or write a story. You could even go out in your yard or neighbourhood and collect some more rocks, leaves or sticks and ask your kids how they differ from what you observed along the Path. If you’re feeling crafty, you could make a nature sculpture or collage with the items you collected.

Developing mindfulness in children through participation in music activities. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 8(1), 1-7.

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