This mindfulness activity is an idea from a local parent, and I tried it recently with the girls and they loved it. The activity is very simple and quick. You sit outside with your kiddos, get very quiet and try to hunt down or notice all the different sounds you can hear.
Both times I did this with the girls, we were hiking. Simply being outdoors is a mindfulness practice in and of itself, but the first time we tried this game, we were with some friends and decided to sit down in the middle of the trail. We first pretended to breathe like different animals. The kids picked a cheetah, tiger and many more for their animal breaths. After giggling through the different breaths, we then started the sound hunt. We had to stay quiet until each of us found three different things, raising a finger any time we heard something. My younger daughter didn’t quite make it to all three, but she could stay involved in the game which was great. Once each of us had three fingers raised, we shared what we found in the hunt. My 6-year old mentioned things like a bird, wind and breeze. We asked her what the difference was between ‘wind’ and ‘breeze’ and she described different movements for either sound, so she had clearly tuned into very subtle distinctions.
A few days later my whole family went hiking and we tried the same activity again. This time my 6-year old very eagerly led us through the activity. Our neighbor who suggested the idea also recommended a Sound Map to complement the hunt. We haven’t done this yet, but you take a pad of paper and pen, draw out the sounds you hear and map out where you hear them from. We’ll save the Sound Map for our backyard the next time we try this fun sensory game.