Activity Plan: A Sensory Walk
A short walk can go a long way in heightening children's awareness.
- Grades: PreK–K
- magnifying glasses
- small binoculars (optional)
- drawing paper
- crayons and markers
Objective: Children will explore their outdoor environment to encourage the development of sensory awareness and observational and language skills. (You might consider doing this activity over the course of several days to focus on one sensory experience at a time.)
- Invite children to take an outdoor walk. Ask them to predict what they will see, hear, touch, and smell. Provide magnifying glasses, binoculars, a camera, and a portable tape recorder for children to use in their outdoor investigation. Explain that they will use these different tools to explore and record information.
- For tactile explorations, invite children to touch different types of textures and describe how they feel (such as cement, gravel or rubber surfaces, grass, plants, tree bark, brick, and metal). For visual explorations, help children photograph different textured surfaces as well as different colors that they see outdoors. For olfactory explorations, ask children to describe different types of smells. Photograph several of the things children have smelled. Use your phone, camera, or other audio recorder to record a variety of outdoor sounds that children hear.
- Use binoculars and magnifying glasses to study and observe things in the environment. What do they notice about the colors and textures of things that have been magnified? Encourage children to use descriptive language as they share their observations and discoveries. Ask questions to further their investigation and observation skills.
- After returning to the class, create a language experience chart about how they used their senses during their walk. Provide children with paper and markers to create drawings and dictations about their experiences. Use the photographs you and the children took to create a book about their sensory walk. Invite children to identify the outdoor sounds that they recorded.
Curriculum Connection: GROSS MOTOR
Sound Dances. Using the recordings children made during their outdoor walk (or a cassette of nature sounds), invite children to create movements for the different sounds presented.
I Went Walking by Sue Williams
Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? by Eric Carle
Taking a Walk/ Caminando by Rebecca Emberley