The benefits of Sensory Experiences in Nature

Do you stop and smell the roses? The quote may be a tad cliché, but there is a great deal of truth to it. In this busy modern world, with phones and tablets an arm’s length away, we rarely take time to appreciate what’s around us and connect in a shared experience. Spending time outdoors and exploring woodlands with all your senses is a great mindfulness practise for you and your family.

This quote can be taken both literally and figuratively. Flowers and nature provide us with incredible sensory experiences to see, smell, touch, and hear. For example, imagine you and your family are walking along a tree-lined trail on a beautiful sunny day.

You see a fairy house and a bug hotel where you let imaginations run wild.

You smell the damp wood, leaves and forest floor.

You hear the wind blow through the treetops and chimes clanging together in the distance.

Your child touches the brass handle of a mysterious door and pushes it open, leading your family to new unexplored territory.

Sensory experiences like this are fun and beneficial to health and child development. When you combine the benefits of being in nature with sensory activities, the rewards are enhanced.


Here are the top 5 benefits of taking learning and play outdoors:

1. Walking through a lush green forest or a wild woodland field can improve memory and learning. Research has found that children that play in natural environments (e.g. a forest) have better cognitive skills, decision-making abilities and manual dexterity.

2. Although they may not express it the same way, children can experience stress and anxiety just as much as adults. Exploring nature with all your senses can reduce stress, anxiety and even lower blood pressure.

3. It benefits our physical health. An increasing amount of research is looking at the positive impact nature has on our physical health. A study conducted in Tokyo at Nippon Medical School found that time spent in the forest increased NK cell activity which plays a role in cancer prevention.

4. Enhanced sensory trails will improve creativity and a sense of exploration. Children are naturally more inclined to explore with their senses – it’s why we often see little ones bring new items to their mouths. Having a trail with plenty of opportunities to let their imagination run wild will stimulate their brain and further cognitive development.

5. It’s fun for the whole family. With a range of different challenges and experiences, from scavenger hunts to bug safaris to mystical fairylands, your family can have fun exploring a new area and completing unique activities and puzzles together.

Brilliant Trails takes the natural sensory and mystical qualities of the outdoors and enhances them. Through kid-friendly maps, puzzles and challenges as well as sculptures, figures, and fairy houses, we help you and your family play, discover and explore nature. The great outdoors has so much to offer and a multitude of benefits. I suggest the next time you have the opportunity, you and your family should take some time to stop and smell the roses on an exciting trail.