For today’s Outdoor Play Party I welcome Louise from Building Blocks and Acorns, who is sharing a fun outdoor activity for kids that was new to me: A journey stick. Make sure to pop over to Louise’s blog and check it out after you’re done reading!
Hi, I’m Louise and I’m absolutely thrilled to be guest-posting here at ‘Rain or Shine Mamma.’ My usual ‘home’ is over at Building Blocks and Acorns, where I share the activities I do with my two year old little boy on my days off as a teacher and nursery worker. Many of these activities have a sensory or nature theme.
We love to get outside, whatever the weather. We are fortunate enough to live in a beautiful village here in the U.K and my son is in his element when we head out for walks together. His favourite activity at the moment is collecting items and placing them on a ‘journey stick.’ This is something that Australian aboriginals used to do; they would collect items from nature along their journeys and tie them onto a stick, starting from the top to represent the start of their journey, and gradually working their way down to the bottom, representing the end of their journey.
I love this idea and it’s a wonderful way for children to be able to recall walks they have taken in any season. We only ever pick up items that nature has left us; nothing is picked off trees etc. Following strong winter winds, many leaves and branches had fallen off and there was plenty for us to choose from.
We began our journey with a stick that we regularly use for this activity. I’ve found that shaving any ‘knobbly bits’ off the stick helps to affix the items you find (you can use sticky tape, elastic bands or even tie items on with string!) We used a mixture of both, to help my little one distinguish between the ‘top’ of the stick (the start of the journey,) and the bottom of the stick.
We had barely left the house, when my 2 year old (who is affectionately known as ‘Darth’ on my blog, thanks to my husband’s love of all things Star-Wars!) found a piece of ivy, pine cones and old poppy seed head that the wind had blown onto the pavement. He was very excited and helped to cut the sticky tape himself, using the squeezy scissors you can see in our cutting skills table post.
Once we had headed out onto the country lanes, ‘Darth’ enjoyed splashing in puddles and taking in the fresh air! There is nothing like being outside with your little one. The ‘journey stick’ wasn’t the point of the walk; the intention was to simply be outside in each others company. The journey stick was a way of keeping ‘Darth’ focused on this walk and helping him to keep going when he got tired.
‘Darth’ loved looking along the hedgerows and squealed with delight when he found something he thought would be suitable for his journey stick!
When we reached a gap in the hedge at an entrance to a field, he simply stopped and stared. I love how he looks at nature and appreciates it. He lifted his arms (and the stick) into the air and said “Wow!” Once he’d finished taking in the view, we continued our journey on a circular route back home.
The great thing about this, too, is that it can be done at any time of year. Talk to your child and discuss how you need to care for nature. Decide what you will do with the natural items once you have finished with them; we like taking ours down to the allotment and putting them ‘back to nature’ in the compost bin and our hedgerow.
Outdoor Play Party
At the last Outdoor Play Party I loved the post Let Them Wander from Jessica of Growing Inch by Inch. She talks about the importance of adults taking a step back and letting children do some exploring on their own outdoors, while still staying within sight. “Children need space away from adults to feel like they can have their own conversations. They feel grown up and trusted,” she says. I couldn’t agree more.
Now it’s time for a new party. If you’re a blogger, please link up with your ideas for outdoor play activities every other week! We would appreciate it if you included a link back to this post (either in your post or sidebar) to help us spread the word about the importance (and fun!) of outdoor play! In return, we’ll gladly further share your post on Pinterest/Facebook/Twitter.
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