Nature-Sensory Path

Children will learn and observe similarities with themselves when exploring the basic needs of animals and plants.

Developmental Area

Physical

Description

Nature

Age

Preschool

There is so much to discover in nature!

This activity allows children to explore the world around them, using their senses!

Materials

For this activity you will need:

  • Logs, tree branches and leaves

  • Chestnuts, wood chips and moss

  • Rocks and pine cones

  • Mud and water (if barefoot)

Learning Goals

With this activity you will learn the following skills:

  • Engage, explore and experiment in their environment and use new physical skills including skills to manipulate objects and materials

  • Learn about the natural environment and its features, materials, animals, and plants, and their own responsibility as carers

  • Nature awareness: collecting, sorting and grappling with natural materials

  • Sensorial Stimulation: experience various textures with our feet

Process Description

Step 1

Children can collect various natural resources from their environment or ask family members and friends to contribute to this project.

Step 2

Let children decide what they want to include into the path and what materials should come first, second and so on.

Step 3

Children and if possible family members or community members can help to create the path.

Step 4

This path should be freely accessible for children at all time and being used if possible without shoes.

Step 5

Give the children an opportunity to use and play with the clothing their own way. They may wish to sort the clothing by colour or style, or they may wish to try the items on!

Adaptation

If there is space for a wider sensory path, children lie down and roll over the materials with their whole bodies. A sensory wall can be created with the children. Words such as soft, tickling, hard, spiky, wet, cold, etc. can be written on paper pieces and added to the relevant areas of the sensory wall for increased literacy awareness.

Reflective questions

Ask these questions during and after the learning opportunity for critical and self-reflection

  • What could have been better?

  • How did I scaffold children’s learning?

  • Could I have adapted the learning opportunity to reflect all children’s needs, abilities and interests

Looking and responding

Start by asking the children to describe what they see. Draw attention to details. These are sample questions that can be adapted using your expertise and knowledge of the children. Where is this happening; is it summer or autumn and how does this affect what we see out in nature?

I’m wondering what you were thinking when you were working with the leaves? How did they feel? What colours did you see?

Would you do anything differently, if you were doing it again?

Bibliography

  1. Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education (CECDE) (2006) Síolta: The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education. Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education.
  2. Hsu, A. (2017) 12 Creative Sensory Walk Activities for Kids [online]. Available at: https://www.hellowonderful.co/post/12-CREATIVE-SENSORY-WALK-ACTIVITIES-FOR-KIDS
  3. National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) (2009a) Aistear: The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework. Dublin: NCCA.
  4. Thornton, L. (2016) Using natural materials to enhance children’s learning [online]. Available at: http://blog.optimus-education.com/using-natural-materials-enhance-children%27s-learning.

Author Bio

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Wendy Oke

CEO, TeachKloud

TeachKloud is a cloud-based management platform for early childhood educators and parents!

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