myNDNA: Early years and childcare activities

View our latest childcare activity guide below, written by early years experts.

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Coronavirus disclaimer - Legislation and policy guidance change regularly. It is the responsibility of the setting to review the latest COVID-19 guidance from the Government when undertaking these top tips.

Mindful listening walk

On this mindful listening walk, encourage children to listen to traffic, animals, and birds that they might hear and discuss how they feel once they have returned to nursery.

Child listening to trees

Learning aims

  • To use different senses to explore the environment
  • To identify different sounds in the environment
  • To take part in a discussion about some of the different features of the environment
  • To increase focus and attention skills.


  • Risk assessed walking routes
  • High visibility jackets (optional)
  • Appropriate footwear and clothing for the weather.

Activity outline

  1. Identify the route that your walk will take
  2. Risk assess the route using your setting’s usual methods
  3. Talk to the children about the purpose of the walk, which is to really take notice of the different sights and sounds along the way
  4. Talk to the children about the sounds of the traffic, animals, and birds that they might hear on the walk
  5. Explain that if they start to think about other things on the walk, that it is OK but can they then try to bring their thoughts back to the sounds and feelings on the walk
  6. After preparing the children, leave the setting for the walk
  7. Gently point out different sounds to the children and if their attention wanders, guide them back to the here and now
  8. Stop regularly on the route in key places and listen together to the different sounds
  9. Once back at the setting continue to talk to the children about the different sights and sounds. Ask them how their bodies feel now they’re back from the walk. For example, do they feel tired? Do they feel full of energy now?

Extension ideas

You could extend this activity by practising a mindful meditation in your setting, thinking about the sounds you heard on the walk. You could even use a nature soundtrack to support the meditation.

Working with babies

Babies can enjoy walks in pushchairs. Take some rugs so you can lie the babies down.

Special considerations

Ensure you risk assess the route using your setting’s usual methods.


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