Sensory nature game


A fun game to help young people take notice of nature using their sense of touch.

  • Estimated time: minutes
  • Location: Outdoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): English, PSHE

Learning objectives

  • Use the sense of touch to investigate an area outside
  • Understanding opposites in language
  • Match objects to words through touch
  • Can also be used as inspiration for poetry


Collect up to four egg boxes (with 6 holes). Number the holes in each egg box 1-6.

On a piece of paper, write out the numbers 1-6 and write a different 'touch' word against each number. For example:

1 hard
2 soft
3 prickly
4 fluffy
5 rough
6 smooth

Write out a word sheet for each group/child, making sure you change the order of the words on each.

Label each egg box, word sheet and envelope as Group A, B, C etc. or with children's names to identify which set belongs to which group/child.


  • Egg boxes
  • Paper
  • Access to an outside natural area
  • Envelopes
  • Pen/pencil and paper

Step by step

  1. Introduce the idea of investigating the natural environment using touch. We are used to using our eyes, ears and even noses to observe the world around us but this is all about finding different textures.
  2. Demonstrate the words 'tickly' and 'prickly' using a soft grass and a ‘prickly’ grass from the garden. Ask your group to hold out their arms and shut their eyes. Run the two different grasses over their arms. Can they tell which was which?
  3. Split your group into smaller groups (ideally 2-4 groups) and hand out the egg boxes and the word sheets.
  4. Ask the groups to go and find one object for each of their words and place it in the corresponding hole in their box. They must keep the order of their words a secret from the other groups/children.
  5. When they have returned, ask them to put their word sheet into an envelope and close their egg box.
  6. Now ask each group to swap their box and envelope with another group, making sure no one receives their original box again. Hand out a blank sheet of paper and a pen or pencil to each group.
  7. Ask the groups to open the boxes at the same time and work together to feel each item carefully. They should then write down which of the words they think best describes each object. They shouldn't open the envelopes until told to do so.
  8. When all groups think they have guessed all six, they can open the envelope to see if they were correct!

Hints & tips

  • If you don't have a garden, you could take your group to a park or woodland to find their items. Choosing an area with lots of variety is key to a successful activity.
  • If you are unsure about what plants are safe to touch, have a look at our checklist of potentially harmful plants.
  • Remind your group to be respectful to nature and only take small samples from living plants or try to find fallen materials.
  • If you want to run this activity with one child, ask them to fill the box and then see if you can guess which is which.
  • Pupils could use their collection as a starting point for writing poetry.
  • Create a group 'box of specialness'. Read the poem The Magic Box, by Kit Wright to your group, then ask each person to choose an item from their collection to put into the shared box. You could repeat this each season and then look back after one year to observe the different items.

We've won awards!

Winner of the Drum Marketing Awards 2017
Winner of the ERA 2017 awards
Winner of the Third Sector 2017 awards