beach at sunset

Tap into all 5 senses during the 30×30 Challenge!

In today’s busy society, it’s easy to tune out our senses and forget about the natural environment around us. Being regularly immersed in natural settings can make you feel happier, healthier and more relaxed.

This August, Ontario Parks challenges you to spend 30 minutes in nature each day for 30 days.

Register here for the 30×30 Challenge!


By joining the 30×30 Challenge, you’re committing to re-connect with nature by tuning into your senses.

Here are some ideas for tapping into your senses while exploring nature:


boy looking at lake

Did you know that 80% of what we understand is seen through our eyes? To connect with nature, challenge yourself to leave technology behind, look up and notice your surroundings. What do you see?

Activities to engage this sense:

  • Wildlife viewing
  • Spend the evening stargazing
  • Look for wildlife tracks


bridge over river

Have you ever wondered why some parents turn on “white noise” machines or nature sounds for their infants? Studies show that these sounds help relax the brain, and are known to relieve stress. Take a walk outside and listen for nature sounds. Note different sounds at different times.

Activities to engage this sense:

  • Walk along a river bank and listen to the trickling of running water
  • Listen for bird calls
  • Take an evening stroll and listen for owls, frogs and crickets


boy eating marshmallow

Gardening and growing our own fruits and vegetables not only encourages us to eat healthier, but is also a source of physical activity that can reduce dementia, manage anxiety and increase attention span. Connect with nature by growing your own produce and appreciate where our food comes from.

Activities to engage this sense:

  • Stop by a Park Store for a snack
  • Cook a meal (or just marshmallows!) over the campfire
  • Go fishing and enjoy a shore lunch


family beside campfire

Scents play a role on our emotional and physical well-being. For instance, the smell of lavender is known to have calming properties, while lemon oil has shown sign of increasing productivity.

During the month of August stop and take a deep breath of fresh air; what do you notice?

Activities to engage this sense:

  • Relax and take a deep breath of fresh air
  • Stop to smell wildflowers
  • Go for a walk after a rainfall
  • Enjoy the scent of your campfire (and your dinner cooking on it!)


family walking on beach

Research shows that discovering new textures opens new pathways in the brain, and ultimately helps us gather information about our surroundings. Get outside and discover new textures – dig your hands in the sand, feel the warmth of the sun, run your hands along the bark of a tree.

Activities to engage this sense:

  • Walk on a beach and feel the sand between your toes
  • Visit an Ontario Park Visitor Centre or touch table
  • Relax in the sun (don’t forget your sunscreen!)

Ready to re-connect with nature?

30x30It’s time to take a nature break and get back to our senses. Sign up for the 30×30 Challenge today!

Share your 30 minutes in nature on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #30x30Challenge!