Everyone should find a spot outside where they’d like to spend their solo time.
The person leading the game could give people a bit of time to explore the area and choose, or they could give people spaces to explore.
- Duration: 60 minutes
- Location: Outdoors or at home
- Cost: Free
- Suitable for: Individuals
How to run this activity
- Everyone should get comfortable and pay attention to what’s around them. How can they take it all in? Which of their senses do they tend to use first?
- The person leading the activity should encourage everyone to focus on a couple of senses at a time. What can people see? What happens if they close their eyes? Can they notice what they hear?
People may be able to watch the breeze in the trees or listen to birdsong, for example.
- The person leading the activity should help everyone to focus on another sense, like touch. What can people feel? Can they find things with different textures, for example, rough tree bark, smooth blades of grass, and cool pebbles? Can they feel the breeze on their skin?
People might want to move around a little bit, for example, so they can feel the grass, sand, or earth under their feet. Make sure that people only touch things that are safe and won’t cause any harm.
- Finally, the person leading the activity should encourage everyone to tune into their senses of smell and taste. Do nearby trees and plants have a smell? What is it like?
People might not be able to taste things unless an adult knows their stuff with foraging and can identify safe things to eat, like blackberries and wild garlic. If there’s no foraging expert, people could focus on whether the air has a taste. Does it feel different to breathe?
This activity was about valuing the outdoors. Were people used to visiting this place, or was it a new environment? What different wildlife did they spot? How did the outdoor space feel different to other outdoor areas? People could think about how the temperature or sunlight felt different, or the different smells they noticed.
What sense did people enjoy using the most? Were there any surprises when they took time to pause in nature? If people could pack up one sight, sound, smell, taste, and feeling to take home, what would it be?
This activity also gave people a chance to think about being responsible. How did people do the right thing during their visit? Perhaps they helped to pick up litter or left a small animal alone even though it was really tempting to pick it up to see it better. Humans have a huge impact on outdoor areas like woodland. How could people do their best to take care of forests? Planting new trees is one of the least expensive ways to reduce carbon emissions – an added bonus is that dedicating space to trees means that there’s more space for other life to grow and thrive.
Be responsible - believe in doing the right thing, being trustworthy, and doing your best.
Value the outdoors - enjoy being outside, feel comfortable in nature, and feel connected to the natural environment.
All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk.
You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.
Everyone must wash their hands after the activity has finished. Wear gloves if needed. Explain how to safely use equipment and set clear boundaries so everyone knows what’s allowed.
It’s up to you how much you guide people through this activity. You could introduce the senses one at a time to provide more structure and support, or you could explain the whole activity and allow people to take their time exploring with their senses in their own order.
If you know what species people are likely to find, why not challenge groups to find a list of animals and plants? You could also encourage people to identify what they find in a more detailed way, for example, looking into differences between species.
Take it further
If anyone found any particularly interesting plants or animals, they could get stuck in to some further research.
If people spotted ways that human activity impacted wildlife, they may want to take action. For example, people could contact local authorities or action groups and tell them about their concerns.
Anyone with more knowledge could share their sills with the rest of their group. It’s up to everyone how they record what they find, and what exactly they do with the information afterwards.
Make sure the area you visit is accessible for everyone. Forests with well-maintained footpaths or purpose-built roads may be more accessible than wild land. You may need to think about transport links too – how will everyone reach the area you visit?
If you anyone in your group can’t use (or has difficulty using) any of their senses, for example, if they have hearing loss or sight loss, think about how you can make sure they’re included and comfortable. How do they experience nature?
Some people might not be comfortable touching or smelling new or different things, and that’s OK. Everyone can go at their own pace – they don’t have to do anything they’re not comfortable with.