Sensory & Nature: The Importance Of Outdoor Play

There’s a reason why the concept of sensory is firmly rooted in nature. Gardens, beaches, woods and parks are all wildly vivid sensory environments for us to experience and explore.

Whether that’s the ticklish feeling on the soles of your feet when walking across grass, a cool sea breeze blowing through your hair, or the shining sun warming up the skin on your arms. Nature is perhaps one of the most important parts of our sensory existence, an environment for us to connect with ourselves and our senses.

It’s also great for our health and mood. Sunlight and exercise increase our levels of serotonin, which help us feel happier and relaxed.

So, to extend the sensory excitement of the outdoors, we thought that we’d share some of our top picks for creating an outdoor sensory extravaganza!

Sound: A Sensory Symphony

The garden is full of interesting sounds; from the sweet tune of a songbird, the friendly meow of a cat and the rustling of leaves in the wind. Nature has inspired some of the best musicians in the world, and it might inspire you to start your own garden band.

There are lots of garden instruments for you to choose from. You could make a plant pot drum or use the bark of a tree as a funky güiro. But if you’re looking to make a proper backyard orchestra, we’d recommend a sensory Chain Rattle and an Outdoor Chime set.

Chain rattle and chime set

The soft jingling of chains creates a textured rhythm that perfectly complements the melodic tune that you can play out on the chime set. Treat your ears to interesting sounds, your hands and fingertips to the interesting texture of the chains, and your motor skills as you hit the notes of the chimes.

Have fun and explore your musical senses, you’ll soon be hosting your own night at the proms!

Touch: A (messy) Tactile Treat

Water and sand are excellent bases for lots of sensory activities, but they can also be quite messy. We’d recommend taking these activities outside and into nature.

Messy Play

Our Circular Water Tray is a versatile outdoor play staple. Its unique design sets you up for a fun afternoon of imaginative sensory play. A central helter-skelter can become a roadway for toy cars or a running stream of water in your jungle habitat – watch as the water/cars roll down into the central tub and explore the concept of cause and effect.

The clear tub is perfect for discovering your senses from every angle. Sit underneath and watch the flow of the water or hide shells within the sand and see how many you can count by looking around the edge of the tub. It’s great fun for those who aren’t fans of hands-on sensory activities.

Movement: A Silly Sensory Circuit

We all love a sensory circuit. They present a fun sensory challenge that we can tackle with our hands and feet. Why don’t you set one up using Silishapes?

Silly sensory circuit

Level 1:

Place the Silishapes around in an odd pattern in your garden or in your local park, leaving a comfortable distance between each disk (enough for you to easily jump or step from one to the other.) Jump between each of them, can you do it without falling onto the grass? Test yourself, see if you can make it round faster each time.

Level 2:

Make your Silishape route more complex. Move the shapes further apart so that you have to stretch or jump further to reach them. Or add some interesting obstacles to find your way around.

Add a bucket to jump onto, a wooden plank to walk across, or a paddling pool to wade through! Add an extra sensory splash and develop your motor and balance skills.

Level 3:

Amp up the action and put your balancing skills to the test, carry a soft toy around the course with you! Not only will it present more of a challenge, but it will also help you to become more attuned to your body.

Don’t have your own set of Silishapes? That’s not a problem, you can buy yourself a set of Silishapes right here. It doesn’t matter if you get them messy as you can easily clean them by putting them in the dishwasher.


Make the most of your day and have fun with sensory outdoor play!

Have you got involved with these activities? Send us pictures or videos on social media and tag us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @rhinosensoryuk we’d love to see what you’ve been up to!