We recently spent a lovely morning exploring nature at the Skylarks nature reserve in Nottingham, which is part of the Wildlife Trusts. One of the activities was making something called a journey stick during a nature walk.
I’d never heard of journey sticks before, but apparently they’ve been around for a very long time. A journey stick is essentially a memento of a nature walk, featuring items collected whilst on the walk; these might be things like leaves, twigs, flowers, feathers or anything else natural that you find along the way.
Younger children can use a piece of cardboard with double sided tape attached to secure the items to the card. Older children can make a journey stick the traditional way by choosing a stick and attaching items to it using string or wool.
With all nature activities, you need to be mindful of protecting your surroundings. Spend a couple of minutes explaining this to children before you start, and only collect things that have fallen to the ground.
This activity really appeals to kids; it involves hunting, collecting, comparing with other children, as well as the opportunity to get creative with the stick design. We found lots of different items with a variety of shapes, colours, textures and sizes.
A Wildlife Trusts Ranger was on-hand to help us identify each item; if you were doing this on your own it would be nice to have some sort of nature spotters book with you to help with identification.
By the time we finished our walk we had two lovely records of the nature we’d seen along the way…
A journey stick is such a great activity to do with children during an outdoor trip; it keeps them busy, helps them learn about nature, and provides them with a memento to take home. You also need very little in the way of preparation; just some string or sticky cardboard, depending on which type you’re making. I can see us doing this activity again and again; we’ll probably end up with a gallery of journey sticks from different nature walks, which will be a lovely reminder of family days out.
Do you think you’ll have a go at making journey sticks on your next nature walk?