Head outdoors for a listening walk

Have you ever read the book, “The Listening Book” by Paul Showers?

It is a terrific book that will get your students outside using their listening ears as they take a listening walk with this fun listening walk checklist.

The children were each given a little clipboard and checklist to use as they took their own listening walk…

I created this listening walk checklist on my computer and I specifically chose things that were already in our environment like a dog, cars, birds, and so on.

I printed a copy for each child and cut them to fit on our small clipboards.

I find using our smaller clipboards are easier for the children to carry around when we go on outdoor walks.

Some of the sounds were going to be heard inside the classroom and the others were only going to be heard if we went outside. So we took our clipboards and went outside for a little morning walk…

As the children heard something that was on the list, they placed a check mark next to the item on their checklist…

Not everything works out quite as planned. We have a dog that is usually out next door in a fenced in yard. I bet that dog is out everyday just barking away. In fact, he is out there right now while I am writing this but during our walk, the dog was not outside.  So once again, we decided that since we usually hear the dog barking outside, we could mark that off our list too…

And when we went outside, there happened to be a worker outside using a leaf blower and ALL we could hear was the leaf blower so we had to walk all the way over to where he was and ask him to please turn it off for a few minutes so we could hear something else…

So even though we couldn’t hear a real firetruck and the dog wasn’t out barking at us like usual, we still managed to hear lots of other sounds in our environment. Taking a listening walk was a good opportunity to stop and think for just a minute about the sounds we hear but don’t always notice…

Go ahead try it.  Stop for just a minute and then just listen. What do you hear? I was surprised at what I could really hear once I really stopped to listen on our outdoor listening walk…

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By |2018-11-05T18:43:14+00:00May 8th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Leeanne A May 8, 2012 at 7:05 am - Reply

    I will need to take a field trip – this is a fun way to experience nature and to use your senses! Love it!

  2. tina bachan May 8, 2012 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Where do I get this checklist?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 10, 2012 at 1:47 am - Reply

      I have added a link at the end of the post for the checklist:)

  3. Heidi Butkus May 8, 2012 at 8:57 am - Reply

    What a lovely activity! I love it! We’ll have to try it. I just ordered the book. I think that we will also take an observation walk, too. I have a set of children’s binoculars, so maybe they can go out in small groups and also look for things like birds and squirrels, etc.
    Fun! Thanks so much!
    Heidi Butkus

  4. Amanda May 8, 2012 at 9:12 am - Reply

    Fantastic photographs, and what a fun activity. LOVE it! 🙂

  5. Janet May 8, 2012 at 10:24 am - Reply

    I know I have told you before, but if not, let me tell you again how much I enjoy seeing your blog and what an inspiration you are! Thank you so much for the helps you give and the activities you do to inspire the rest of us!

  6. Amanda May 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful outside play activity. I love activities that get children engaged in nature. Thanks for the idea!

  7. Jolie Delja May 8, 2012 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Hi Deborah,
    LOVE this idea! What a fun, positive, goal-oriented way to teach ‘how to be quiet’ and ‘how to be present’ all at same time. Excellent self-regulation activity.
    Would you be willing to upload your listening walk checklist template for us to use?
    Thank you!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 10, 2012 at 1:48 am - Reply

      Hi Jolie,
      I have added a link at the end of the post for the checklist:)

      • Jolie May 10, 2012 at 11:16 am

        Thank you so much, Deborah. I appreciate it and I especially appreciate your time and attention!

  8. artsy_momma May 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    This is an awesome idea! I am definitely going to do this with my little guy 🙂

  9. Teresa rebelo May 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    So nice…very good idea! I´ll do it with my children;thanks for sharing
    Teresa Rebelo

  10. Didi May 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    What a great extension! I’m laughing right now because I wish I had seen this post earlier today. The doodlebug and I were out on a nature walk, and I was trying to encourage listening skills. It’s hard to be still and quiet when you are young and full of energy. I was hearing all sorts of birds and bugs, but couldn’t get my kid to slow down long enough to hear all of the nature sounds. I am totally going to try this activity. I think having something tangible to hold onto will help. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  11. School Sparks Renee May 8, 2012 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    Great pictures and cute idea. I’m sure the kids all felt like “big kids” with the clipboards! Renee

  12. Amber May 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    You are so right, sometimes things just don’t work out the way we thought it might. I’ve learned over the years, as I’m sure most of us preschool teachers have, that these are good experiences for the kiddos…impromptu problem solving or a lesson in flexibility. 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 12, 2012 at 11:15 am - Reply

      Absolutely true – when things don’t work out, it can be a good opportunity to build problem solving skills!

  13. [email protected] May 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    What a fun outdoor play idea that really fosters the senses. I think Rosie would have a lot of fun going on a sound hunt.

  14. Joy May 12, 2012 at 2:07 am - Reply

    This is a wonderful idea. I especially love the picture of you walking towards the trees with your preschoolers. Thank you for including the checklist for us. I have a couple questions about it. Why is there a music note next to the wind and clock? And why is there one empty large square?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 12, 2012 at 11:14 am - Reply

      Haha – welllll, I think because somewhere between me being in a rush to add this to my blog and technology glitches, the checklist messed up. I will have to try and fix that today. But the musical notes should be in the empty square and we were listening to music in our classroom so we added music to our checklist.

  15. Cortney September 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Hi! Do you have the word doc for this? When I download the pdf version, the music note is in another box! Please let me know! My email is [email protected].


    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm - Reply

      I will see if I can pull it up and email it to you Cortney!

  16. […] Day is a great day to read Shhh…A Book About Hearing. Afterward, head outside and take a listening walk with your […]

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