Making a journey stick is such an easy, fun outdoor craft to do with the kids – and a great low-cost way to have some fun family time.
We learnt what a journey stick is and how to make one at our local Skylarks nature reserve in Nottingham, which is part of the Wildlife Trusts.
What is a journey stick?
I’d never heard of journey sticks before, but apparently they’ve been around for a very long time. A journey stick (also known as a story stick or nature 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.
How to make a journey stick
To make a journey stick, you will need a few basic supplies. 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. Make sure you 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 we found. 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.
Some ideas for creating your journey stick
Here are a few ideas for questions you could explore with children while making your journey sticks.
- Do you want your journey stick to have a theme? For example, a colour, all flowers, all leaves.
- How long does your stick need to be? Think about how long your walk is!
- What senses does each item stimulate?
- What is the story that your journey stick is telling? Let your imagination run wild!
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.
Since we learned how to make journey sticks, we’ve repeated this fun nature craft again and again, building up a little gallery of journey sticks from our nature walks. We really like being able to compare journey sticks from each season, and each one always prompts some lovely reminders of fun family days out.
If you’d like to explore some more nature crafts for kids, check out the craft section of the blog for lots of fun projects.
Do you think you’ll have a go at making journey sticks on your next nature walk?