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Outdoor play created perfect opportunities for explorations for children that engage their senses. Learning about different textures with their hands is a great activity to do with preschool children in spring, fall, or summer.
Children discover the world using their 5 senses. They connect to it by absorbing sounds, textures, smells, pictures, tastes, emotions. At a young age, children are incredibly sensitive. Learning occurs naturally when they have an opportunity to utilize as many senses as possible.
In the Montessori classroom, there are several areas of development, one of them being sensorial. Montessori sensorial aims to establish a strong connection between the brain and senses in the process of learning, provide a sensory impression. Children learn to differentiate weight, textures, colours, etc.
“The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge. Our apparatus for educating the senses offers the child a key to guide his explorations of the world…” Montessori, M. (1988). The Absorbent Mind
Hands are instruments, through them brain receives important information. It’s no surprise that children LOVE working with hands-on activities. Well, as adults we also gain great satisfaction from things we do with our hands – knitting, playing an instrument, gardening – providing all forms of relaxation and positive stimulation. Every single material designed by Dr. Montessori benefits brain development by engaging children’s hands – from the Pink Tower to the Stamp game, children learn by handling manipulatives.
Our Montessori classroom often gets transferred outdoors. It is one of the most exciting aspects of our Montessori homeschooling program. I try to use similar concepts that Montessori materials present and work my way to demonstrate these exact concepts using resources found in nature.
On a gorgeous sunny day, we took a trip to a local park to do sensorial explorations using hands and learn more about touch. It was a great way to extend preschoolers’ vocabulary knowledge and experience textures using natural materials.
Here is what we did:
Scavenger Nature Hunt – Touch with printable
Learn about contrasts like rough and smooth, cold and warm, heavy and light
Played “Mystery Bag” game using objects from nature
I made a nature scavenger hunt printable to help with this task. You are very welcome to download the printable here!
The conversation took us in all sorts of directions trying to come up with adjectives to describe objects – talking about temperatures, weight, etc. One of the Montessori materials that teach to differentiate between rough and smooth surfaces is called Rough and Smooth Touch Boards. You can check out this video created by My Works Montessori for more details on that:
We used a smooth leaf and rough surface of a concrete wall to do a similar presentation and lesson. Also learning to be gentle with plants was another valuable lesson my student learned when talking about “touch”.
“Mystery Bag” is a wonderful tool to boost problem-solving skills and communication. Truly, there is no need to get fancy, a simple fabric bag works just fine for that. We have one that makes it easy for children to slide their hands through holes on the sides and put the bag around their neck. With the mystery bag, children practice describing objects and come up with different adjectives to talk about the item while trying to guess what it is.
This outdoor Montessori exploration experience gave us a great start for talking about the senses. The hearing, sight, and smell – next lesson’s agenda. I think we will leave “taste” for later as a fun treat and play different games tasting various food.
YOu Might Also Enjoy These Resources On Nature-Based Learning and Living
- The Many Benefits Of Learning In Nature
- Hands-On Learning About Plants In Our Montessori Classroom
- Sensory Explorations Outdoors – Touch With Nature Hunt Printable
- Learning About Land And Water Formations – Montessori Outdoor Explorations
- The Silence Game In Nature – Empowering Children With Mindfulness
- Montessori Inspired Explorations At The Beach
- Quotes On Nature – Steering Away From Nature – Deficit Disorder
- Colour Hunt In Nature – Montessori Outdoor Explorations
- 20 Ways To Celebrate Earth Day And Every Day With Kids.
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- Art With Nature – Creative Nature Hunt For Kids
- Outdoor Learning Activities With Free Printables
- Painting With Natural Loose Parts
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- How To Make An Easter Garden – Natural Small World For Play
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- Calming Mindfulness Activities For Kids Using The Colors Of Nature
- Outdoor And Nature-Based Learning Activities For Children
- Introduction To Forest School – A Practical Approach To Outdoor Learning (Free Printable)
- Nature Journal – Free Printable
- Nature Display In Homeschool Setting
- Montessori Flower Arranging Lessons For Children. Activities, Materials. Tips For Toddlers & Preschoolers
- Outdoor Activities For Children With Free Seven-Day Planner
- Risk-Taking In Play And Everyday Life For Children
- The Importance And Benefits Of Teaching Gardening To Children Toddlers To Preschoolers
- Indoor Garden Craft Ideas For Kids – Plants That Stimulate The Senses
- How To Make A Vegetable Garden For Kids
- What Happens If Every Child Picks A Flower?
Must-Read Books About Nature Learning and Living
Exploring Nature - Children's Books and Learning Resources
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Three-part cards and sorting activity with three major groups of rocks – Igneous, Sedimentary, Metamorphic. Rocks are often a great point of interest for lower elementary students. It is easily translated into a hands-on experience for children who enjoy looking up various types of rocks and learning their origin and proper name pronunciation.
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Seasons in Nature Printable - Nature Curriculum in Cards
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4 work mats for sorting
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Sun and Earth rotation poster to place in the middle
British and American versions
Natural Wonders of the Continents Montessori Sorting Cards
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Birds and Their Eggs Three-Part Nomenclature Cards
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Plant Life Cycle - Montessori Nature Printables
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This unique nature reference book has a fun, new approach that teaches children about nature through objects. It includes:
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• Four chapters: Animals; Plants, Fungi and Algae; Minerals and Rocks; and Made by Nature.
• Illustrated diagrams that support understanding.
• Large, detailed photographs of truly fascinating objects.
• Eye-catching jacket finishes: gold foil, holographic foil and metallic gold edges.
Kids Nature Journal Drawing Sketchbook
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Backpack Explorer: On the Nature Trail: What Will You Find?
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Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World
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My First Nature Book: All About the Natural World for Kids
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Awesome Outdoor Science Experiments for Kids
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National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry
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Adventure Girls!: Crafts and Activities for Curious, Creative, Courageous Girls
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The Backyard Bug Book for Kids
Crawl into the wonderful world of bugs—a fun photographic adventure for kids ages 3 to 5
Take your child on an educational adventure bursting with the kinds of colorful photographs you need in bug books for kids.
The Backyard Bug Book for Kids has everything you’d want in bug books for kids: a story, pictures, and activities combined. Introduce your little one to the types of bugs they’re likely to see during their day, then help them remember what they’ve learned with fun, on-the-page challenges.
Curious Kids Nature Guide: Explore the Amazing Outdoors of the Pacific Northwest
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The Organic Artist for Kids: A DIY Guide to Making Your Own Eco-Friendly Art Supplies from Nature
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Outdoor Kids in an Inside World
In the era of screens and devices, the average American spends 90 percent of their time indoors, and children are no exception. Not only does this phenomenon have consequences for kids’ physical and mental health, it jeopardizes their ability to understand and engage with anything beyond the built environment.
Exploring Nature Journal for Kids
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The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms
Clare Walker Leslie shows kids how to experience nature with all five senses, whether they live in the countryside, a major city, or somewhere in between. Guiding children through inspiring activities like sketching wildlife, observing constellations, collecting leaves, keeping a weather journal, and watching bird migrations, The Nature Connection encourages kids to engage with the world outside and promotes a lifelong love of nature.
50 Things To See With A Telescope - Kids: A Constellation Focused Approach
From the author of the bestselling book 50 Things to See with a Small Telescope, this colorful edition explores the constellations with young readers, guiding them to dozens of galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters. Every page features a helpful “telescope view”, showing exactly how objects appear through a small telescope or binoculars.
Nature Anatomy Activities for Kids: Fun, Hands-On Learning
Get ready to explore the sky above, the ground below, and all the plants and creatures in between! Made just for kids, this nature anatomy book teaches you about the incredible forces and living things that exist in nature.
Nature All Around: Plants
Balancing child-friendly facts with colorful illustrations, this perfect introduction to plants is sure to inspire the budding naturalist in every child. From crowded cities to open prairies, deserts to wetlands, plants grow everywhere!
This comprehensive introduction will open children's eyes to the plants that surround them every day and how important they are to life on our planet. It covers the basics of plants, such as their parts, life cycles and growing zones.
The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-Ups
The birds, the bees, the flowers and the…TREES! How do trees grow? Why do leaves change? What kind of tree is that? The acclaimed Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s guide answers all kids’ (and their parents’) tree-related questions in an easy-to-understand way. It features 33 different trees that grow in North America, from rural Georgia to the streets of New York City to the California suburbs.
Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival
Anyone can get lost while camping or on a hike and Survivor Kid teaches young adventurers the survival skills they need if they ever find themselves lost or in a dangerous situation in the wild. Written by a search and rescue professional and lifelong camper, it’s filled with safe and practical advice on building shelters and fires, signaling for help, finding water and food, dealing with dangerous animals, learning how to navigate, and avoiding injuries in the wilderness.
Mrs. Peanuckle's Hiking Alphabet
With playful text, bright illustrations, and sturdy pages, Mrs. Peanuckle's alphabet books will engage toddlers, and take them on an alphabet adventure through the natural world!
Explore the wondrous world of hiking while learning the ABCs with Mrs. Peanuckle!
Mrs. Peanuckle takes on the outdoors and shares all her favorite animals, plants, and more in her latest tour of the ABCs!
2 thoughts on “Sensory Explorations Outdoors – Touch With Nature Hunt Printable”
This is definitely an incredibly rich resource that you have spent so much valuable time developing, I’ll recommend it to parents at our school as well as link to it in our Montessori Resources section so that our teachers can take a look. Thanks!
Thank you so much, Fernando, for this thoughtful comment! I am happy to serve other hardworking parents and teachers out there!
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