Outdoor Stillness Spot – Gnome Zone Weeklong Challenge

Did you know that there’s a correlation between exposure to nature and lower levels of stress and anxiety?

This week’s Gnome Zone Challenge helps you increase awareness of your natural surroundings and inspires imagination and creativity.

Supplies needed:

  • Yourself
  • A place to sit, outside
  • Optional: A journal and pens, pencils, markers or crayons

Here’s what you do:

  1. Encourage kids to follow their body radar in order to find the perfect spot to sit quietly with nature for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Let your kids know you will call them back when the time is up; perhaps with a wolf howl or sound of your choice!
  3. Let kids know this is a silent time between them and nature and that if they are very silent and still something magical may happen such as a butterfly landing on their nose or a bird eating an insect off their leg (use this moment to share a sit spot story of your own (can be made up and elaborated to spark interest or can be a personal story of a time you were quiet in nature).
  4. Encourage kids to think about what they see, smell, taste, hear and feel during their sit spot and have them share upon return.
  5. How many days in a row you can sit in your stillness spot for 5-10 minutes? Two days? Three days? A week?

Challenge Extensions:

For the little ones –

To build towards a longer sit spot, practice moments of silence. Once in their spot, have kids remain in the spot until they have heard 10 different sounds. Once they have heard 10 sounds, they can return. Or, have kids take 10 deep in and out breaths before they can return

For the older kids –

Keep a Stillness Journal or sketch journal. Encourage kids to keep a log of what they see, hear, smell and feel. They may prefer to draw or sketch what they see.

“The Why” behind the Challenge:

  • Decrease stress and anxiety. There’s a correlation between exposure to nature and lower levels of stress.
  • Increase awareness of self and surroundings.
  • Stimulate imagination and creativity. Being in natural surroundings inspires imagination and creativity.

Book Recommendations:

Beehive by Jorey Hurley

Listen by Holly M. McGhee; illustrated by Pascal Lemaître

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel

Natsumi’s Song of Summer by Robert Paul Weston; illustrated by Misa Saburi

Additional Resources:

Generation Wild
Kids today spend less than 7 minutes a day outside in unstructured play. Generation Wild provides the inspiration and ideas to change that.

100 Things to do Before You’re 12 (download the list)