Summer is in full force and our children are raring to go! Summer days are filled with running, jumping, swimming, and lots of outdoor play. It is also a time to rexlax a bit and stick around the house or neighborhood. Often times this makes my children restless. No matter how much we have done the day before they are brimming with energy to explore the world. Often times children do not know where to begin and they need help focusing in on how to explore.
It doesn’t take long to enjoy and observe the great outdoors though sometimes it does take a bit of direction and focus. One amazing way to enjoy the summer is to go on a sensory journey focusing on the sense of smell. In the book Little Bunny Follows His Nose, by Katherine Howard a young bunny wants to play outside but does not know where to focus his energy. His mother tells him to follow his nose. This sets him off on a wonderful journey where he smells all sorts of wonderful things and meets lots of friends along the way. Like little bunny, our children many want to explore but may not know where to start.
Reading this book is a perfect way to start your very own adventure with your little one. It is a way to inspire children to follow their own noses! After reading this book we decided to go on our own sensory walk. It was a basic walk around our house (of course this all depends on where you live and could easily be done in a park near your home.)
We began to discuss what types of smells we could be sniffing for outdoors; what have we smelled before. My daughter said she remembered the smell of grass when it is being cut. My son said flowers. With these two ideas we began to go on our mission. We stopped and smelled the grass. We found some flowers and smelled them. Other things we focused on were onion grass, pine needles, soil, and lavender. On our way towards the back we even smelled our barbecue cooking us dinner!
It was a fun adventure that both the kids and I enjoyed. In total it took an hour from reading the book, discussing what smells we thought we could find, and going on our journey. For days after the children discussed our adventure and even created their own in our yard while playing independently. If you have more time there are plenty of ways to extend this activity further. This summer I challenge you to see where your nose takes you and your kids!
Bring a clip board and sketch each item we smell
Go for a longer walk
After the walk draw a map of where each item you smelled was found
Do a ‘smell hunt’ with the kids and ask them to find different scents
Written by Nicole Rowley