Three Storytelling Ideas To Use During an Earth Day Nature Hike
Create a magical Earth Day experience by weaving these storytelling ideas into a family/friends nature walk!
During the pandemic, nature walks became an essential aspect of mental health for our family. We had two small children, one on the way and lived in a one-bedroom apartment; getting daily fresh air was more complicated than just opening the back door to the yard. We had to get everyone suited up, bags packed, and out the door... but even before all that, we had to convince our daughters (2 and 4.5 at the time) that getting shoes on and going outside really was a good idea.
We had many tear-soaked 45 minute shoes-and-jackets battles during this time, but once I started pre-planning one simple storytelling object or game to bring or play during the nature hike there was a lot less resistance. I would tell the girls what the object or game was just before it was time to get shoes on, and then the excitement over the announcement usually gave positive, upward energy to getting ready and getting outside.
Below are three storytelling-inspired object or games that we used during this time to encourage more time walking through nature trails. I hope that these ideas will inspire your own Earth Day (or any day) nature trail walks!
Idea #1 - Bring Masks or Puppets
Walking like a human can get REALLY BORING... but put on a mask and suddenly you've become a lion, or dog, or butterfly-- and THAT'S a really fun way to walk down the trail!
Don't have a mask but have puppets? GREAT! Puppets need to get fresh air, too! You and your child can put your chosen puppets on your hands and take them for a walk, making sure to show and teach the puppets about all the interesting natural sights along the way.
Idea #2 - Small Figurines
Allow each member of the family to bring one to two small figurines along for the nature walk. Along the route, make sure to stop and play with the figurines. You can use small sticks and rocks to build figurine shelters and houses. If you want to give your nature walk some direction, you could create a specific mission for your figurines that would help move the group along when it was time to keep walking. Make sure that you are aware of going too far from the path, whether the park you're in wants you to stay strictly on the trails, and what is growing along the path (such as poison ivy).
"These people have learned not from books, but in the fields, in the wood, on the river bank. Their teachers have been the birds themselves, when they sang to them, the sun when it left a glow of crimson behind it all setting, the very trees, and wild herbs." -Anton Chekhov
Idea #3 - Rambling Stories
Our story-filled nature walks during the pandemic gave birth to The Rambling Stories Project. Recognizing the importance of nature walking with my kids, but also struggling to get out the door, I wanted to create a storytelling product that would help families to be motivated to get outside, and then enjoy the time in nature once out there.
Rambling Stories is an audio recording of a folktale that stops at an exciting mid-point in the story, and then prompts your family to get outside and find the natural element that's in the story. Once you've found that natural element or landscape, your family creates an original ending to the story and spends time playing the story together while still outside. The download includes a half-finished story, the full original version of the folktale to listen to after you've created together, and some idea generating print-at-home sheets to help get your creative story-making juices flowing.
CHECK OUT RAMBLING STORIES HERE: https://www.rachaelharrington.com/challenges
Storytelling & Nature Walks Go Hand In Hand!
As we look forward to Earth Day, incorporating these storytelling inspired ideas are a great way to motivate your next nature walk with your kid(s). You'll be building earth care awareness, physical health, and memories for years to come!
BECOME A STORYTELLER ON YOUR NEXT NATURE WALK! CHECK OUT RAMBLING STORIES HERE: https://www.rachaelharrington.com/challenges