Head outdoors for a listening walk

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on May 8, 2012

in Listening Walk, Outdoor Play, The Listening Walk

In my previous post, I shared with you “The Listening Book” by Paul Showers and the listening games that we played. To extend this activity, the children were each given a little clipboard and checklist to use as they took their own listening walk…

I created this listening walk checklist on my computer and I specifically chose things that were already in our environment like a dog, cars, birds, and so on…

Some of the sounds were going to be heard inside the classroom and the others were only going to be heard if we went outside. So we took our clipboards and went outside for a little morning walk…

As the children heard something that was on the list, they placed a check mark next to the item on their checklist…

The only thing that we didn’t hear was the firetruck but since we had heard the recorded sound of a firetruck on my cell phone – we decided that we could go ahead and check that off too…

Not everything works out quite as planned. We have a dog that is usually out next door in a fenced in yard. I bet that dog is out everyday just barking away. In fact, he is out there right now while I am writing this but during our walk, the dog was not outside.  So once again, we decided that since we usually hear the dog barking outside, we could mark that off our list too…

And when we went outside, there happened to be a worker outside using a leaf blower and ALL we could hear was the leaf blower so we had to walk all the way over to where he was and ask him to please turn it off for a few minutes so we could hear something else…

So even though we couldn’t hear a real firetruck and the dog wasn’t out barking at us like usual, we still managed to hear lots of other sounds in our environment. Taking a listening walk was a good opportunity to stop and think for just a minute about the sounds we hear but don’t always notice…

Go ahead try it.  Stop for just a minute and then just listen. What do you hear? I was surprised at what I could really hear once I really stopped to listen on our outdoor listening walk…

To download a copy of the checklist – click here

Available on Amazon

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1 Leeanne A May 8, 2012 at 7:05 am

I will need to take a field trip – this is a fun way to experience nature and to use your senses! Love it!

2 tina bachan May 8, 2012 at 8:51 am

Where do I get this checklist?

3 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 10, 2012 at 1:47 am

I have added a link at the end of the post for the checklist:)

4 Heidi Butkus May 8, 2012 at 8:57 am

What a lovely activity! I love it! We’ll have to try it. I just ordered the book. I think that we will also take an observation walk, too. I have a set of children’s binoculars, so maybe they can go out in small groups and also look for things like birds and squirrels, etc.
Fun! Thanks so much!
Heidi Butkus

5 Amanda May 8, 2012 at 9:12 am

Fantastic photographs, and what a fun activity. LOVE it! :)

6 Janet May 8, 2012 at 10:24 am

I know I have told you before, but if not, let me tell you again how much I enjoy seeing your blog and what an inspiration you are! Thank you so much for the helps you give and the activities you do to inspire the rest of us!

7 Amanda May 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm

What a wonderful outside play activity. I love activities that get children engaged in nature. Thanks for the idea!

8 Jolie Delja May 8, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Hi Deborah,
LOVE this idea! What a fun, positive, goal-oriented way to teach ‘how to be quiet’ and ‘how to be present’ all at same time. Excellent self-regulation activity.
Would you be willing to upload your listening walk checklist template for us to use?
Thank you!

9 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 10, 2012 at 1:48 am

Hi Jolie,
I have added a link at the end of the post for the checklist:)

10 Jolie May 10, 2012 at 11:16 am

Thank you so much, Deborah. I appreciate it and I especially appreciate your time and attention!

11 artsy_momma May 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm

This is an awesome idea! I am definitely going to do this with my little guy :)

12 Teresa rebelo May 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm

So nice…very good idea! I´ll do it with my children;thanks for sharing
Teresa Rebelo

13 Didi May 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm

What a great extension! I’m laughing right now because I wish I had seen this post earlier today. The doodlebug and I were out on a nature walk, and I was trying to encourage listening skills. It’s hard to be still and quiet when you are young and full of energy. I was hearing all sorts of birds and bugs, but couldn’t get my kid to slow down long enough to hear all of the nature sounds. I am totally going to try this activity. I think having something tangible to hold onto will help. Thanks for the inspiration!!

14 School Sparks Renee May 8, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Great pictures and cute idea. I’m sure the kids all felt like “big kids” with the clipboards! Renee

15 Amber May 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm

You are so right, sometimes things just don’t work out the way we thought it might. I’ve learned over the years, as I’m sure most of us preschool teachers have, that these are good experiences for the kiddos…impromptu problem solving or a lesson in flexibility. :-)

16 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 12, 2012 at 11:15 am

Absolutely true – when things don’t work out, it can be a good opportunity to build problem solving skills!

17 crystal@growingajeweledrose May 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm

What a fun outdoor play idea that really fosters the senses. I think Rosie would have a lot of fun going on a sound hunt.

18 Joy May 12, 2012 at 2:07 am

This is a wonderful idea. I especially love the picture of you walking towards the trees with your preschoolers. Thank you for including the checklist for us. I have a couple questions about it. Why is there a music note next to the wind and clock? And why is there one empty large square?

19 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 12, 2012 at 11:14 am

Haha – welllll, I think because somewhere between me being in a rush to add this to my blog and technology glitches, the checklist messed up. I will have to try and fix that today. But the musical notes should be in the empty square and we were listening to music in our classroom so we added music to our checklist.

20 Cortney September 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Hi! Do you have the word doc for this? When I download the pdf version, the music note is in another box! Please let me know! My email is ckbystrom@gmail.com.


21 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm

I will see if I can pull it up and email it to you Cortney!

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