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How to Build Keen Observation Skills with Easy Holiday Fun

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Slow down during this busy season and truly experience the holidays with your kids! This fun holiday activity is a fantastic way to hit the pause button and really tune into all 5 senses. Find out more about this activity and how to get your free printable pack to start building keen observation skills today.


Have some easy holiday fun with kids as you build keen observation skills using this free printable pack.


What Are Keen Observation Skills & Why Are They Important

Observation skills are powerful tools. The ability to pause, pay attention, and communicate what is going on around you sounds easy enough. All you have to do is open your eyes and spout off a few descriptive words, right?

Not exactly. 

Proper observation takes time and effort. Not blood, sweat, and tears type of effort. More like patience and awareness. Tasks that aren't always easy in this busy world.

Yet, we need to build keen observation skills now more than ever in this modern, tech-driven world. Kids have more screen time than interaction with others and the environment. And all that virtual reality stuff is nowhere near real life touching, feeling, hearing, tasting, and smelling!

But, the good news is that you can build keen observation skills with practice and intentionality. And the activity itself is simple, requires little time, and no money! Easy, fast, and free-who doesn't love that?

Keen observation uses all 5 senses. A few tips to build keen observation skills with a simple activity involves:

  1. You select an object or setting.
  2. Set a timer for a few minutes (beginners may do best with one minute and build from there).
  3. And then you just sit, allowing your 5 senses to pick apart that object/setting.
  4. Work your way through all 5 senses. You can assign each sense to a finger to help you work your way through all the sensory experiences. OR use the DIY 5 Senses Spinner (get your free printable when you scroll down)

    Help your kids build & practice keen observation skills with fun activities.
    Example of how you can use all 5 fingers to remember all 5 senses during keen observation practice.
  5. You don't have to think in full sentences. Colors, descriptions, sizes-lots of adjectives!
  6. If you or your kids find it hard to remember, record yourself! Use a tape recorder or smartphone app to record your observations.
  7. When the timer goes off, take a moment to pause and add any final observations.
  8. Record your observations on paper (writing it all down is such a powerful activity!).
  9. To go deeper, take out your thesaurus (or use an app like thesaurus.com) and look for words that add a bit more zing to your observations.

In The Writer's Jungle, Julie Bogart shares lovely ways to practice and build keen observation skills with your kids.


Holiday Observation Fun chart & DIY 5 Senses Spinner with sprig of pine, candy cane, jingle bells, and wood gingerbread ornament on white background and orange pomander, cloves, & boy creating pomander on green plate

The Holidays Are a Perfect Time to Slow Down & Observe

The holidays provide a wonderful time to slow down, enjoy all the wonders, and build keen observation skills with your kids.

Decorations of all sizes, colors, and textures adorn trees, mantles, and homes. Carols and other musical delights play in the background as you shop and drive. So many yummy smells from cookies, hot cocoa, and other tasty treats.

As my 5 boys and I prepare for another fantastic holiday season, we know the importance of being intentional with our time. Instead of rushing about in a flurry, we have plans for hitting the pause button and truly experiencing the holidays with each other.

And one of the perfect ways to do that is with Poetry Teatime~Holiday Edition!

A very special Christmas Poetry Teatime spent sharing and reading holiday-themed poems, treats, and our observations.

During our Christmas Poetry Teatime, we created orange pomanders. We used this experience to practice our keen observation skills and make a gloriously scented centerpiece.

First, we chose an orange. During this selection process, we compared the sizes, colors, and strength of smell.

Enjoy an easy holiday activity with your kids as you practice keen observation skills. Make orange pomanders & experience with all 5 senses.


Next, whole cloves were distributed. The boys gently picked up a few to experience their smooth yet somewhat spiky texture. Gently squeezing a whole clove, each boy wafted its fragrance and compared it to the original smell.

Experience the holidays with your kids using this free printable pack to practice & build keen observation skills.
Smiley with his smiley face pomander. He added legs so it could stand on its own 🙂


Then, creativity was sparked! After deciding on a design or pattern for their orange, whole cloves pierced the orange rind. The sweet aroma of orange juice mixed with the tang of cloves to produce a refreshing and energizing smell.


Making orange pomanders is a great activity to enjoy with kids during the holidays to practice & build keen observation skills.


To add a tasting experience to this activity, we peeled and enjoyed orange slices while admiring our aromatic work.


After our Pomander Project, we took turns spinning our DIY 5 Senses Spinner (see below) to share our observations before, during, and after the process.

Create an aromatic centerpiece for your Christmas Poetry Teatime & to enjoy building keen observation skills.
Check out this aromatic centerpiece for our Christmas Poetry Teatime.


Get Your Free Printable Pack to Build Keen Observation Skills During the Holidays

This Holiday Observation Fun printable pack is designed to add fun to keen observation activities. Also, you can also use your observations to jump-start writing Christmas poems to share with family and friends 🙂

This free printable pack of Holiday Observation Fun includes one chart to record your observations using all 5 senses and a DIY 5 Senses Spinner (with Bonus).

The DIY 5 Senses Spinner is a fun way to build keen observation skills. Give the arrow a spin and then describe the object/scene with that sense. The BONUS section allows that spinner to pick any of the 5 senses they'd like!

**Laminating the spinner helps with durability and use. When poking the hole in the arrow and spinner, make sure to leave enough room to allow the arrow to freely spin.

Holiday observation fun activities with candy cane, jingle bells, evergreen, and wood gingerbread man and boys hand with colorful Christmas lights & boy smiling as he holds a orange with smiley face cloves

When you join the Rock Your Homeschool community, you’ll receive this printable pack in a PDF download in an email, along with a super-secret password that opens the library to all RYHS freebies. In addition to your freebies, you’ll receive emails with ways to rock your homeschool plus instant downloads to all new freebies.

(Psst! Current RYHS members just need to access the Subscriber Freebies page and enter the password in your welcome email. Or get the instant download in the email the week of this post)

Click HERE or on the image below to subscribe and get started with these free Holiday Observation Fun printables!

Help your kids build keen observation skills as you enjoy easy holiday fun with this free printable pack with activities to use all 5 senses.

What else would you like to know about building & practicing keen observation skills with your kids?

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