Now that Spring is here, consider taking your students to the nearest park, forest, field, or community garden and ask them to explore. Nature walks provide a great opportunity to be mindful and connect to ourselves and the world around us. They can be lots of fun to do with your students, can help cultivate a sense of awe and wonder, and get them moving after periods of sitting or inactivity.
Nature walks can be done anywhere there are natural surroundings and can be places your students have already visited. Using the fives sense to explore will give them plenty to notice. To help engage your students, make sure to point out all the curious things you’re noticing too, ask lots of questions, and encourage them to engage all their senses as they look around.
Nature Walk Instructions
Before beginning the nature walk, ask students to take a 3 or more breaths and to to check in to notice how they’re feeling. Are they excited, calm, or neutral about going on this walk? Ask them to feel the bottoms of their feet and to listen to their surroundings. Can they hear anything that stands out?
Let them know that throughout the walk, you will ask them to pause, take a couple of breaths, feel their feet and listen for sound.
Engage your students
Some students might want to start running, climbing and exploring. Their natural excitement might get them really energized, and that’s okay. To bring their attention back, make sure to ask lots of questions about what they’re noticing in the walk and elicit observations from them around the size, color, shape, texture, smell, or sound of any of the things they’re noticing. Point students to the natural treasures around them and share in their excitement. Also, make sure to pause and take a couple of breaths to give time for students to share their findings with he whole group.
Closing the activity
Before ending the walk, make sure to allow time for debriefing. Ask students, to check in on their breath, notice their feet, and reflect on how their mind and body are feeling after the nature walk. Ask students what were some of the things they felt, saw, heard, smelled, or noticed? What stands out the most about today’s walk?
Remind your students to leave no trace and to take all their belongings as prepare to go. An important lesson of the nature walk is to take care of leaving our surroundings as we find them.
To learn more about awe and nature walks, make sure to check out this Guided Awe Walk from Greater Good Magazine.
Share with your community!
Lead your students through a Nature Walk and ask them how they liked it. Or try to use it yourself! What happened? Share with fellow teachers in your school or on social media with #mindfulschools.