Backyard Nature Activities: Sound Map

This activity is taught in Hike NS’s Re-Connecting with Nature workshop offered each year in locations throughout the province. This is a one-day, hands-on workshop for adults held mostly outdoors to improve your ability to lead and share an appreciation and understanding of nature with children and youth. We plan to have a schedule available in May for workshops hopefully scheduled in late June and in the fall, if possible.

Sound Map 

Synopsis: Participants listen to and record the sounds of nature around them. Select a site where your group is likely to hear a variety of nature sounds, such as a meadow, forest or marsh. Your backyard will do as well. Try to pick a time of day when car and other human sounds are less noticeable. 

Set Up & Props: Index card and pencil for each person 

Source: Adapted from Sharing Nature®: Nature Awareness Activities for All Ages by Joseph Cornell.


1. Explain Listening Place: Explain that each person is to find a special listening spot and settle down with a pencil and index card. Define boundaries for how far they can go (stay within sight).

2. Explain Making Sound Marks: Explain that the participants are to mark an X in the center of their cards to reflect where they are sitting. When they hear a sound, they should make a mark on the card to symbolize the sound (e.g., wavy lines for wind, a musical note or picture for a bird). The placement of the mark should indicate roughly the direction and distance of the sound. Demonstrate this while you are explaining in relation to the sounds heard at that moment.

3. Go to Listening Posts: Participants find their spots within site and nearby. Have everyone listen for 5 minutes.

4. Share Sound Maps: Afterwards, have everyone gather to share their sound maps 

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