Activities to Awaken Our Senses

little boy in a field of tall grass
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / [sofiiashunkina

Spring. A verb and a noun. We awaken from winter’s darkness and hibernation into something fresh, something new, something changing. Our connection to nature throughout the seasons delivers numerous benefits for our bodies, minds and hearts. In spring, we witness new beginnings – a whole new year ahead.

Research shows that people who spend at least 2 hours per week in nature report significantly better health and wellbeing. When it comes to the mental-health benefits of nature, science suggests that the most efficient drop in cortisol happens between the 20-30-minute mark

Making nature time an essential part of your family lifestyle is one of the best choices you can make for you and your children’s health; increasing your green time can have a wide range of positive effects, from a healthier heart and immune system and reduced stress in adults, to better eyesight and brain power in kids.

Children spending time with nature encourages teamwork and kindness. Kids who play in recently greened school grounds play more cooperatively, communicate better and decrease aggressive behaviour.  Taking group walks in parks and the countryside improves kids’ self-esteem; each extra day a child spends in a park per week steadily increases their resilience against stress. 

It’s clear: Grab your boots and your warm layers, invite the children into the adventure!  

You can refresh your mind & outlook with a few of these activities: 

Find a sit spot

A sit spot is simply a favourite place in nature (or looking out a window at nature) that is visited regularly to cultivate awareness, expand senses and study patterns of local plants, birds, trees, and animals. The practice supports mindfulness, builds routine and increases focus.  


What do you hear? Can you identify the sounds? How many do you hear?

Watch for Movement

What do you see? Can you see tiny bugs, or birds, or squirrels?


What is your view? Is there anything new in your sit spot today, like a fallen leaf or a bird feather?


Give your nose, palate and gut a break from artificial additives that stress our body systems. Soak in the aromatherapy of nature.


If you have a nature journal, write about what you experience in your sit spot today. You could include details like the weather, the colours you see, any other observations, and what you are thinking about today. What is it that you wonder about? Write it in your nature journal. With each sense we awaken, we connect more deeply to nature, strengthening the bond that restores us.  

Additionally, we can overcome a state of overwhelming thoughts and emotions by practicing the 54321 grounding exercise – Tune in. Focussing on our senses, brings us into the present moment.    

  • What 5 things do you see?
  • What 4 things do you hear?
  • What 3 things do you touch?
  • What 2 things do you smell?
  • What 1 thing do you taste?

How about searching online for a family nature scavenger hunt exploring by using your five senses?  Or heading out for a walk in the neighborhood choosing one sense to explore with the children?  How does the children’s experience expand your own? What do they listen to? What can their hands reach? 

Wrap up your moment with your senses by sharing your wonder at the diversity of sensations that you have noticed with your children. Happy trails!


For references visit 


You May Also Like: Outdoor Art and Exploration Play, Embrace Outdoor Learning!, Build an Outdoor Play Shelter with Materials from Nature.

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