- Magnifying glass
- Field guide(s)
- Mini clipoard
- Metal probe and Tweezers (to pick apart objects)
- Container with lid or Plastic bags
- Peeled crayons
- Pencil or Pen
- Nature journal
- First aid kit (injury)
- Flashlight (darkness)
- Whistle, map and compass (getting lost)
- Toilet paper (bathroom)
- Bug spray (bugs)
- Water bottle (thirst)
- Snacks (hunger)
- Sunscreen (sunburn)
- Sun hat or sunglasses (sun in eyes)
- Warm layer and extra clothes (too cold or wet)
- Rain coat and boots (weather)
Sight. Gather 3-10 items from the surrounding area and place on ground. Examples might include a pinecone, wildflower, leaf, stick, etc. Cover them with a bandana. Tell children that they have 30 seconds to memorize the items. Uncover the items, count to 30 and cover them again. Then, allow children to go hunt for the items and bring them back. Share what they find and celebrate which ones they remembered using their sight.
Taste. Place four items in a brown paper lunch bag or sack from home. The items should cover the different tastes (sweet, sour, salty and bitter). Examples might include a piece of chocolate, sour gummy worm, pretzel stick and lemon wedge. Using a bandana, cover the eyes of the children. Then, have them each grab one item from the bag and stick it into their mouth. See if they can taste if it is sweet, sour, salty or bitter and if they can identify the item without looking. It is always a good idea to choose items that your child is comfortable with or enjoys.
Time to give some of these ideas a try. Don’t feel like to you need to do all of them. One or two might be a good stretch for youngsters. Share your experiences with us in the comment section below. What have you done with children in the outdoors that was successful?
Some of the sensory activity ideas listed came from the book Small Wonders.