This is a great sensory activity, using the sense of touch, to explore the trees in your Forest School site. It is also an extremely valuable way to develop co- operation, trust and care for each other. Language skills are also supported when descriptive words are encouraged.
You will need:
enough blindfolds for half your group. Ribbons may be useful if you wish to pre-select your trees. Otherwise leave step 1 out.
1 Prepare for the activity by marking double the number of trees to children in your group using ribbons – choosing a variety of tree types, sizes and shapes if possible.
2 Pair up the children and instruct them how to lead each other safely if one of them is blindfolded. Point out any potential hazards for the blindfold person – uneven ground, tree roots, twigs at eye height etc – and demonstrate how to guide someone carefully (no pulling or pushing).
3 Tell them they are going to get to know their own tree in the wood – they should feel its bark, the shape of its leaves, anything growing at the bottom, where the branches start and how many there are, what it smells like, how wide its trunk is.
4 One child in the pair then leads the other blindfolded to a marked tree or a tree of their choice, and then their blindfolded partner has a few minutes to get to know the tree.
5 The children return to their starting point still wearing their blindfolds and being led carefully.
6 Only then can they remove their blindfolds – they then can have three guesses to identify their tree.
Encourage them to feel, look and remember carefully.
7 The pair can then swap roles and repeat the activity.
Aims: to promote understanding of trees using sensory learning, care for each other – cognitive learning & interpersonal skills
This activity develops an understanding of the sensory qualities of the tree and helps the child develop an emotional connection with the woodland environment.