Journey Sticks

Have you a walk planned for the weekend? Why not keep a record of your explorations together by creating a journey stick - a wonderfully tactile and emotive memory of your experience outside in the wild.

If your child knows a little bit of the history of journey sticks, they might be even more invested and motivated to take part in this activity - so chat to them first, and describe what it is that you plan to do. Historically, both Native Americans and Aboriginal Australians made journey sticks as a storytelling device - attaching items chronologically to their stick, they were more easily able to recall their journeys and even create navigational maps from their memories.

All the child will need to start is their own stick. My newly-nine year old chose a stick nearly as tall as he, but really the only key characteristic is that it is sturdy and not easily snapped. You’ll also need something to fasten on the treasures. Older children may have the fine motor skills needed to tie on their finds with string, however we’ve found the quickest and easiest way for younger children is to reuse elastic bands (we have a pot of them collected from the post, plus a few bright blue ones from spring onions).

With a little mindfulness of your natural surroundings (it’s better to collect treasures already fallen to the ground, or in abundance), you can then set off on your journey, collecting treasures spied along the way and tucking them into the elastic bands, or tying on with string. For children, this activity is a winning combination of hunting, collecting, creating and storytelling. There are no rules and each journey stick is unique, and personal to the creator.

Encourage your child to recount their adventures using their stick as a reference when you return home - a walk enhanced by a beautifully simple activity that allows children to really feel their connection to the world around them.