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Summer days can often go by so quickly and before you know it, the busy schools days return.  Here are three ways that you can slow down the pace of your summer, spend time in nature, and enjoy the world around you.

Cloud watching 

Lay a blanket out on the grass and look at the clouds above you.  Look for shapes (animals, food, vehicles) and point them out to see if others can see them too.  Notice how the clouds move differently whether it is a windy or calm day.  Notice how long it takes before your shape disappears or rearranges into something else.

Square Foot Science

Use string and a measuring tape to mark off a 1 foot square in your yard or any grassy area.  Using a magnifying glass, observe for five minutes all of the things you can see in your square foot area.  Write down all of the things you notice in a notebook. If doing this with others, switch to observe their square and then have them observe yours and compare what you see.  Notice all the things you observe that you might otherwise miss in the grass around you.

Quiet observations

Find a comfortable place in your yard, close your eyes, and sit quietly for 2 minutes just listening to the sounds around you. After two minutes write down all the sounds you heard and compare with the others listening.  What did you hear that you normally wouldn’t have observed?  Go for a walk and try this listening activity in other locations – a park, inside a restaurant. What is different in the different locations? Which one did you enjoy listening to most?

Looking for more ways to incorporate mindfulness, check out these other Connection Corner posts:

MEET THE AUTHOR

Judy Schmidt provides leadership to 4-H metro programming in Peoria County. Schmidt joined Extension in 2001, working as a Youth Development Educator at the East Peoria Center and joined the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit in 2011. Her work focuses on 4-H youth development programming in the local metropolitan area, specifically leading positive youth development initiatives for after-school programs, community groups, 4-H clubs and other youth-serving organizations. Her areas of expertise include positive youth development principles, youth leadership, and work with teens as teachers.

Schmidt attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for her bachelor's degree in psychology and also for her master's degrees in Social Work and Marriage and Family Therapy. She is a certified facilitator of the Matrixx System/Real Colors program by the National Curriculum and Training Institute.

ABOUT THE BLOG

Connection Corner:  is a blog that provides timely information, activities, and resources to help you stay connected to loved ones, the world around you, and yourself.