Sensory-rich activities: connecting people with the outdoors

Nature palettes

different ways of using a nature palette

Nature palettes are a great way of encouraging people to pay closer attention to what's around them, to zoom in on detail, to touch, collect and create. They have been used by environmental educators for many years, we have simply extended their use so they make a great sensory experience for people of all ages and abilities.

You can use them to put an emphasis on a particular sense or to encourage people to explore through a mix of different senses. They work well with people of all ages and abilities, and their simplicity and low-cost make them popular with educators, interpretors and professional and home carers.

How to make a nature palette

Nature palettes are easy and cheap to prepare and very easy to use. You simply need a piece of cardboard (or equivalent), sufficiently thick to stay rigid. It can be any size (though much bigger than A5 gets a bit cumbersome to use) and any shape. Cover the palette with double-sided sticky tape. Just peel off the top layer when you are ready to use it.

Look out for colourful flowers, shiny leaves, soft moss, spiky grass, crunchy twigs and... well just about anything you can find! And that's all there is to it, get sticking!

nature palette cards

How to use a nature palette

We use nature palettes to encourage people to explore through more of their senses, often putting an emphasis on collecting textures, scents and shapes as well as visual patterns.

Making nature palettes

We've found that nature palettes work with all ages and abilities. We use them to encourage people to explore with their different senses, putting an emphasis on collecting textures, scents and shapes as well as making visual patterns.

matching detail on nature palettes to colours and scents

(left) Another option it to match colours to a paint swatch card (easy to get from a DIY store). Trying to match the subtle shades and scents in nature to those on the swatch is a great way of encouraging people to observe more closely.
(right) Collecting herbs - the oils in the leaves will smell for weeks - a DIY 'scratch and sniff card'!

collection of nature palettes

Links

Creative activities to do at home - get more nature based creative activities

Creative activities for carers - see how we're using activities to support carers

gofindit - get your hands on our international best selling scavenger hunt game
go find it card game