Stop & Listen | Outlearn Activity Guide

This activity will help you unwind as you will be focusing on sounds around you. The aim of stop and listen is to focus your mind on particular natural sounds. This allows children to have a better appreciation of the natural world.


Unless we make time to listen to the sounds, many of them will be lost into the background. If you listen carefully, you might be able to hear; the flapping of a swallow, the drumming of a woodpecker, the rustle of a breeze through the trees, the trickle of a stream, a falling leaf landing on the ground, or even the popping of seed cases in the sunshine.

Invite everyone to sit or lie in a circle. Alternately, ask them each to find their own space. Provide the children with a challenge, for an example you could ask; who can stay quiet for the longest time? Can anyone identify any bird calls? Can anyone hear any insects or animals? What elements did you hear?

Try to play this game in a wild place with few unnatural sounds, although in practice it is almost impossible to escape completely from the noise of aeroplanes or distant traffic. After a few minutes, break the silence and ask the children to describe the sounds they heard. Do they know which are natural and which are not? Try the game in different habitats—in a meadow, in a wood, by a stream or in a garden.

Safety Tips

To check the ground for sharp objects (hazards) before you sit or lie on it.