Wild Nature
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7 Nature Days Challenge - Day 1

Aim: 15 Minutes Outdoors

Activity: Tune In

A good way to start your Nature week is to play the Tune In Game

Family Portrait

We all live busy lives. Even with life somewhat slower during the Covid-19 pandemic, we still have countless distractions thrown at us every day from the always on, social media driven, world we live in. So learning how to Tune In to Nature is really important for our own health and a key part of your family's connection with Nature. 

Once we slow down, even for a little while, we can let ourselves really see, feel, smell and touch Nature and its healing benefits will naturally flow from there.   

This activity is a really easy ice breaker for your family's journey outdoors into Nature.

Firstly,  you might like to encourage your kids to start a nature journal LINK or if they are reluctant, you can start one and they may follow in the days to come.  

Make sure you are all dressed appropriately for the weather outdoors, then go outside together to a nearby nature space. This could be your own garden, the estate green, a green space in your apartment complex or along your road.  Try to find a safe place away from passing traffic to settle down.  Chat for a few moments together about the spot you have chosen and what you have seen getting there, what is around you now. After a while, tell your children you have a game for them to play, then ask them to close their eyes and begin the game.

(If you feel it is safe to do so too, join them, but this is not always possible with small children to keep track of.)

Tune In Game

Step 1

Close your eyes and listen carefully to the different sounds around you.

Start by having everyone try to pick out as many different sounds around you as you can.

Can you name 5 different sounds? How about 10? You or an older child can write each sound in the Nature journal as you hear them.

Next, really Tune In to the sounds you hear: 

  • Which sound is the loudest sound? 

  • Which sound is the faintest sound? 

  • Which sound is the most pleasant sound? 

  • Which sound is the least pleasant to your ears? 

  • What direction does the loudest sound seem to come from? 

  • Does sound seem to travel from far away or are the noises close by? 

  • Are there more human noises than Nature noises? 

  • Is the weather affecting what you hear in any way?

  • Can you smell anything? 

  • Can you feel anything around where you sit? Describe it. 

Record all their answers in your Nature journal, together with the time of day & weather conditions you have around you.

Step 2

Open your eyes and chat about what they heard 

Below you will find some prompts to help you to expand this chat further if you wish.

Tune In to the weather today:

Cloud with Silver Lining
  •  What job is this weather doing in Nature today? 

    • Ask the children to think about the season and if the weather suits the season that day. Why is the wind needed by trees and plants at this time of year. In springtime, it might spread seeds. In Autumn, it might help the leaves down from the trees. 

    • Think about why Nature needs weather like rain, wind, sunshine, frost & snow. How could they be useful to Nature in making this grow, making things survive?

    • How is the weather in Ireland different from other parts of the world-maybe talk about the weather in places you've been on holidays, the desert, the arctic and how do your kids feel about Irish weather compared to those places.

Think about signs Nature gives us:

  • Can your children name any signs Nature gives us to forecast the weather?

    • Example, a red sky at night can predict nice weather the next day, birds flying low can predict rain soon, clover and dandelion flowers close up when rain is coming, fluffy white clouds usually mean settled fine weather but what about grey clouds? Sometimes people say they can even smell rain coming. 

    • Wind coming from the east often brings bad weather whereas wind coming from the west can often predict good, settled weather. 

    • Who might need to be able to read these signs about the weather, or know the weather forecast, so they can do their work each day? Farmers, fishermen, pilots & airports, ESB workers?

    • Do any of you know any sayings about weather? It’s raining cats & dogs, red sky at night, shepherds delight for example. Think about different types of weather and how they are described. Any funny sayings too?

  • Are there any Nature signs around you all right now to tell you what season it is? Any signs to tell you what the weather might be like later in the day? You might start to realise that you all know a lot more about Nature than you realised. If so, your reconnection with Nature has already begun! 

Think about how we humans use weather in our lives

  • How is weather useful to us? How do humans use the wind, sun, water from rain, frost and snow in our lives?

Step 3

Chat about appreciating nature in our lives.

Finish off by chatting about how we can appreciate Nature and whether we are lucky in Ireland to have changing seasons, fairly settled weather and a great variety of wildlife living by our side.

Is this different to other parts of the world? 

The voyage of discovery together has begun and believe me there will be an infinite number of questions popping up when you get going, from you and your kids!