Observation Activities for Children

Playful observation activities can strengthen family bonds while enhancing your child’s sensory perception. You can play a simple game of “I Spy” most anywhere to challenge your child to take a close look at his surroundings. Painting, music and cooking arts challenge children to pay attention to the details in their world. Mother Nature provides an entire playground of sights, sounds, smells, textures and tastes to explore. Age-appropriate science experiments allow children to engage their powers of observation while investigating the world around them.


Playing is an essential part of childhood that contributes to healthy bodies, emotional health and brain development 1. A family night of picture-matching board games or pair-matching card games strengthens family ties while challenging your child’s cognitive and observation skills. Puzzles and seek-and-find pictures encourage a close examination of details. Outdoor games such as tag or hide-and-seek require children to look for clues while listening to their surroundings. Blind man’s bluff takes the game of tag a bit further by challenging the child to rely solely on his sense of sound, touch and smell.


Participation in the arts encourages and gives expression to a child’s observation of the world around him. Children who participate in the performing arts develop an awareness of themselves in relation to people, objects or activities in their surroundings. Music teaches children to listen and encourages them to identify and mimic the changing sounds they hear. Drawing and painting both allow children the creativity to visually explore details while sculpting shapes and textures. The whole family can engage in the cooking arts to create a mix of textures and aromas while preparing aesthetically pleasing and tasty recipes.


Nature produces an endless array of observation activities to stimulate all of the senses. Plant and maintain a garden with your child and compare the freshly grown food to its canned or frozen counterpart. Take a walk and ask your child to describe what he smells. Have a seat and ask your child to close his eyes and identify the sounds he hears. Collect oddly-shaped rocks, an assortment of leaves and colorful wild flowers to put in a vase once you return home.


Pique a child’s observation and investigative curiosity with simple age-appropriate science experiments. Experiment with changing liquids to solids by making frozen fruit juice treats in an ice tray. Your child can watch a flower eat by placing a white flower in a vase of water mixed with blue food coloring. Learn about sound waves by using a wooden spoon to play a tune on several glasses filled with varying amounts of water. Encourage fun observation activities that stimulate your child’s sensory perception to encourage him to explore and discover the world around him.