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Hi! My name is Chris, and I'm writing this blog to share my passion...nature!
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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Getting a New Perspective on Nature. (Part 1)

One of our favorite things to do whenever we go to a new park or nature center is to get a different view, or perspective, of the area. We’re always finding hills to hike (or run down) and towers to climb. I also try to incorporate all 5 senses, which is another great way to get a different perspective of nature.

In part 1 of this post are ideas for getting a different perspective by watching and listening. In part 2, I’ll cover smell, taste and touch.

These activities can be a great way to enhance observational skills and expand your child’s vocabulary!

I hope you will spend some time outside and try them.


· Look at something from far away, and then close up.

· Lie on the ground and look up. Try under a tree.

· Lie on the ground and look along the ground. Find a dry area or a place with a nice patch of grass. You can also bring along a blanket…we have one dedicated just for outdoor activities like picnics and fireworks.

· Climb a hill and look down.

· Look at something from the animal’s point of view. What does a blade of grass look like to an ant?

· Sit on the grass and watch how it’s constantly moving and shifting. Watch to see if any tiny creatures jump or fly by. Imagine how big the area would look to a small bug.

· Walk into a valley and look up.

· Look for colors everywhere. This is especially fun in spring when the trees and flowers begin to bloom.

· Watch a sunrise or sunset. A lake is an especially beautiful place to do this.

· Look for shapes in nature. Try to find heart shapes in leaves, rocks or tree trunks.

· Look for patterns on tree trunks and on plants. Look for things with spots or stripes.

· Look at something through its reflection in a puddle or pond.

· Talk about how the parts of a tree or plant are connected. Start by looking at the base of the tree (where it’s usually very sturdy and wide) and go to the narrower branches and then delicate leaves. Do this with flowers too.

· Pay attention to how close or far apart things are around you. Are you in a dense forested area or grassland where the trees and grasses are close together? Or an open field where there is more space between?

· Watch how things in nature rely on each other…like when bees pollinate a flower.

· Talk a walk at night and talk about how different things look.

· Pick a letter of the alphabet (maybe what your child’s name starts with) and look for things that start with that letter.

· Take a walk on a windy day. Fall is a great time of year to do this. We once took a walk on a windy fall day and it was “snowing” leaves the whole time. It was so beautiful with all the leaves gently falling all around us. At first we just watched them and then we all started to jump around to try to catch them.

· Walk along a riverbed to follow a twig or leaf as it floats down the river.

· Look at how and where the shadow of a tree falls. Look in the morning and then revisit it in the afternoon and again later in the day to talk about how it has changed.

· Talk about ways to describe the area you are in. Is it open, windy, green, dry, hot, rocky etc?


Stand still and listen with your eyes closed. You’ll probably be able to hear better and concentrate better this way. You can also amplify sounds further by cupping your hands behind your ears to mimic an animal’s ear (which is usually larger than ours).

· Listen and describe the sounds you hear.

· Talk about what the sound might be...a bug, a bird or something human generated?

· Move to another area and see if the sounds are the same or different.

· Go outside at night and see if it sounds different.

On Thursday I’ll post part 2, and give you some ideas on ways to incorporate smelling, tasting and touch into your nature adventures. Until then…happy exploring!!

Have a great idea that I didn't include?
Suggestions for future post topics?
Just let me know in the “comments” section, thanks!

You may also enjoy the post Find a Natural Space in Your Area.

To reference this post directly, use this link.


  1. Cool ideas!!! I love the tree bark photo, so alive!

    From FFF at MBC :)

  2. What a great post!! My kids really enjoyed tasting the snow when it actually snowed here in Texas this winter. They were delighted!!

  3. We have a really cool creek by our house and there are some places where you can overlook it from up high. The boys and I always enjoy it so much.

  4. Thank you both for the kind words!
    Wow! Snow in Texas! How great to be able to experience it there!