Exploring Nature with your 5 Senses (Part 1 Sight)

Welcome to a special series on exploring nature with your five sense. I am so excited you are here. Getting outside in nature is so beneficial for all of us, not just our children. Exploring through play and wonder brings more meaning to what they are absorbing. My boys have always been hands on, full body curious leaners.

Today I look forward to sharing some fun ways you can explore the sense of sight with nature. You can do these activities several times with many different ages, just change your location or season and a whole new world of possibilities opens up!

1. Create some home made binoculars or viewing frames. These could be made of toilet rolls, or cutting the middle out of a paper plate. While outside there is so much to see and take in. If you provide something to view through, you can then focus your attention on the details.

This is a great family activity to do with multiple ages because the final product can be as simple or as complicated as you like.

Now take your awesome viewers outside and take a look around!  Can't get outside? Then what can you spy inside or from the window?

Painting nature

2. Create a nature journal. This is a wonderful opportunity to create (or purchase) a notebook to record all your observations. A simple nature journal would be to take some previously created art work and use it as the cover with a few pieces of paper in between. Beautiful and re-used!

Again this is another fantastic family activity. Lots of discussion and creativity can happen during the making process.  Next it is time to observe and record.  You could sketch, draw, paint, write, doodle all about your time with nature. 

My oldest with his magnifying glass

3. Bring some tools along to explore. A magnifying glass is a fun and simple way to look at objects up close. Be sure to draw what you see in your new journal!  

Another fantastic tool is a microscope that attaches to your camera. We found ours from a local book store and love to take it with us on walks.

Look at the beautiful colours

4. Choose a theme for your nature time. Wether it is a walk, your back yard, some objects you've brought indoors; there are so many different aspects you could focus on. Here are a few ideas

Look for patterns in nature
Look for different letters of the alphabet
Search for all the colours of the rainbow
Focus on all the shades and variations of a single colour 
Seek out new growth
Look for animal homes
Search for animal tracks 
Observe tiny bugs and crawlies (on the path or under rocks)
Sort nature by size, shape, texture, colour (look you are doing math)
Look for numbers in nature (more math)
Use nature objects to create some art
Observe changes in the same spot for different seasons
Look for shapes in the clouds
Watch shadows change throughout the day
Observe a rainbow (or learn more about them)
See what is moving in the sky, on land,  and/or in the water

5. Learn about animals with amazing sight. You could watch videos, read books, visit zoos and wildlife centres, look for these animals outside and more.
Some animals may include:
Eagles and Falcons (bird of prey)
Mantis shrimp - have the most advanced eye sight and see the most colours

What about animals with the worst sight? What adaptations do they have? How do they get around? Animals to look into include rhinos, bats, bulls, deep sea fish, moles.

On a scavenger hunt

6. Can we see the wind? How about a wind sock, or feathers, a kite? try testing different objects to see how they move in the wind/

7. Go on a five senses scavenger hunt. There are any options for printable versions or you could make your own.  Perhaps you could make a separate poster for each of the senses you are exploring. Below are the links to a few scavenger hunts I found online.

Nature Scavenger Hunt Printable by Childhood 101 
Five Senses Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt on Teachers Pay Teachers
Nature Walk Worksheet on Teachers Pay Teachers
Winter Nature Scavenger Hunt by Backyard Brilliant

In our family we have found that the more a child is engaged with their particular learning style they retain and learn more. My tip is to avoid busy work, worksheets that you feel you have to use, and reports or projects or test unless you truly feel it will really benefit the learner. I get that some record of learning may be necessary. But there are some awesome ways to present or keep memories alive. Juicy conversations, stop motion videos, comic books and art are just a few alternatives that my boys enjoy. Don't forget to enjoy nature for what it is without always having to attach academics to it.

Photos from a scavenger hunt
I've gathered a some more links with ideas to get you exploring outside with the five senses. I also hope you'll share your experiences, stories and photos with me on Facebook

Be sure to check out the rest of the series as they are posted


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