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Now that my daughter is 19 months, she is beginning to understand her five senses and how they work.  This is a fun activity to do with kids of all ages and I have added a few ideas to mix it up for the older kids.

First, choose a place to take a walk.  My family has a nature trail near our home, so we’ll be doing our sensory walk there.

Bring a bag for collecting items on your walk, and a camera for taking pictures.

As you walk, stop occasionally and use all your senses to discuss your surroundings.

What do you hear?  Are the birds chirping?  Do you hear traffic sounds or the wind?

What do you see?  Is the sun shining, or is it cloudy?  Are the leaves changing color?  Do you see insects or animals?  What are they doing?

What do you feel?  How do different things feel when you touch them?  How does the ground feel under your feet?  Do the leaves make a crunching sound?   Does the wind feel cold or the sun feel hot on your skin?

What do you smell?  Maybe you smell decaying leaves or smoke from a bonfire.  Maybe a few sweet-smelling wildflowers are still blooming.

What do you taste?  This could be a tricky one.  Not all things are safe to put in the mouth, so I could suggest mom or dad bring along some fall foods like apples, or find a place where you can pick apples to taste.

Expansion ideas:

Bring a bag to collect items like wildflowers, feathers, stones, sticks, leaves.  Take pictures of things you can’t take home, like the clouds in the sky, the trees being blown in the wind, or an animal you may encounter.

When you arrive home, have your child draw an item they remember for each sensory experience.  Older kids may enjoy writing their memories in a journal, writing a poem, or making a scrapbook with pictures and items from the walk.  Taking each item out of the bag, talk about how many senses you can use to observe the item.   Older kids may enjoy scrolling through their MP3 player to find a song that describes how they felt on the sensory walk.  Younger kids will enjoy displaying all of the collected items on a tray in a place where the whole family can enjoy it.