Use the Five Senses for Outdoor Exploration

Spring washes over the outdoors and welcomes everyone to explore. The season of growth presents new and wonderful sights, sounds, smells, items to touch, and even tastes. Regardless of if it is a quick walk around the yard, through the local park, or out to the countryside, using all five senses expands the experience of enjoying the outdoors, reports Nebraska Extension Assistant Lori Swanson.

Just a quick look out the window shows the trees budding and new birds. Going outside there is much more to see. The orange breasted robin is often recognized as a sign of spring. Take time to count how many robins are in the area. Blue eggshells of the robin are often seen after baby robins’ hatch. Spring flowers include tulips and daffodils. The slender green leaves peak out even in the cold early spring.

Move aside leaves and look for new green growth. The crisp texture of the leaves gives way to the cool earth below. Reach out, touch the buds of a tree. Notice the difference of the new bud in contrast to the rough bark. Try walking barefoot on the grass or tip toe through a mud puddle. Many times, in the fast pace of life, the sense of touch brings a sense of closeness to the world.

Take a deep breath! The crisp spring air may bring in the scent of flowers, freshly turned earth, or even a skunk! Spring is the season when more small wild animals are taking advantage of the warm sun as they look for food. Animals’ highly developed sense of smell lead them to food or a new mate.

Sitting quietly in the spring sun the sounds create a symphony. The wind brings sounds of birds flying nearby. Try identifying how many different bird songs are in the air. The rustle of grass and leaves may be the wind or a rabbit foraging. A cow may be heard gently calling her calf. Sounds of nature sooth one’s mind. The small sounds are often overlooked during the daily routine.

As the birds and animals find food in nature, it is a bit harder for humans to forage. Now is the time to plan the garden. Consider taking a snack outside to enjoy while nature entertains. Avoid processed food while outside. A few dropped sunflower seeds make for a shared snack with the robins.

Using the five senses to explore the outdoors impacts young and old alike. The feeling of being part of nature, not just a spectator, brings calmness and eases one’s mind. A day connecting to nature has been shown to bring one a better night’s sleep. Nebraska Extension encourages everyone to use sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste everyday while exploring the outdoors.

For more information about activities to do with your family, contact your local Nebraska Extension Office or on the web at: Nebraska Extension In Our Grit, Our Glory.

Nancy Frecks

Extension Educator

Nebraska Extension


PO Box 248

Trenton, Nebraska 69044

308 334 5666