13 March 2009

5 Senses: Nature Walk

This is a great theme to get out and do some outdoor learning. It was fun to do some of my old outdoor education activities again! We went to the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens which are beautiful and more importantly, very stroller-friendly! It was a bit chilly and cloudy for us, but we didn't get rained on and it felt as if we had the place almost to ourselves!

Here's what we did:

  • Read My Five Senses (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) to set the tone and remind us of our focus.
  • Touch activity: Blindfold student(s) and lead them to a tree. Have them get to know their tree by using their sense of touch. After a minute or so. Lead student(s) back to the starting point, unblindfold them and have them identify their tree.
  • Smell activity: While student is blindfolded, dab a tree with a scent (vanilla or mint extract work well). have the student remove blindfold and find the tree by using their sense of smell.
  • Sound activity: Blinfold the student (again!) and throw small rocks or sticks. Have the student identify the direction from which they heard the sound. If you have quiet children have them listen for 1 minute and list all the sounds they heard. (I do not have quiet children.)
  • Taste activity: If you know your plants, taste an edible one. White fir, dandelion greens, and lamb's quarters are all edible. And your kids will think it's hilarious that they are eating weeds! (Seriously, this is the best way I know to get kids to eat their vegetables!)
  • Sight activity: Bring a nature journal or some sort of paper. Have your child pick out a tree. Have them draw it, challenging them to look closely at the way the trunk and branches are shaped. A partner (or you) have to guess which tree they were drawing.
  • Another sight activity: Find two leaves from different plants or trees. Look very closely at each and find similarities and differences. Draw or paste the leaves in the journal.

To do all these activities I put these items in a clean peanut butter jar:

  • blindfold(s)
  • extract
  • cotton balls (to apply the extract)
  • journal/paper
  • pencil/crayons

Other things you might want to bring:

  • magnifying glass
  • binoculars
  • field guides

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas! I love the Let's Read and Find Out Series. Several years ago, I scored a lot of those books at a yard sale from a retiring teacher. I think we use them almost daily!

    We do a lot of senses activities like you mentioned, too. Makes it more memorable to the child and more fun to teach, too!