Updated: Jan 30, 2020
When we talk about the core 5 #SEL competencies, we are talking about self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness. If we think about skills that help strengthen all of those areas, observation plays a crucial but subtle role.
Observation requires awareness and the ability to notice one's surroundings - essentially, people who are being observant are also practicing being present. And when you have that kind of awareness of yourself and of others, you tend to naturally exercise your self-awareness, self-management, and your social awareness skills.
Although observation is done frequently in school, there is so much to notice outside the confines of a classroom, therefore making it the perfect #SELatHome activity. Here is a list of fun and engaging activities to help boost your observation skills!
#1 People watching
Many of us do this naturally, but people watching is a great way to practice observing your surroundings and becoming aware of how other people communicate and move through the world. Take for example, kids playing on a playground - if you watch and listen closely, you will observe how they engage and manage conflict with one another, the friendship dynamics, and how they are feeling.
I'm sure you've played a version of this game before! Whether you are waiting at the doctor's office, on a long car ride with your family, or spending a day outside, I-spy is a great way to pass the time while gaining awareness and taking an interest in your surroundings.
#3 Card games
There are lots of card games that rely on a player's ability to notice changes in the game or their opponents. A game like Spoons (also known as Tongues, Donkey, or Pig), is a silly and fast-paced game that requires players to focus not only on the passing of cards, but on the collection of spoons in the center that players sneakily steal during the game.
#4 Try some at-home science experiments
Science is all about observation and tracking changes, notable features, and other characteristics. Try setting up some experiments at home and watch what happens! Here our some of our favorite at-home experiments:
And this small-scale water cycle experiment:
So go ahead and give it a try! We can all use a little awareness, so these activities are perfect to do with the whole family. Do you have an observational activity you love? Tag us @youareagardener or email firstname.lastname@example.org to share.