Autumn is a time of change – a change in temperature as the weather starts to cool, a change in nature as leaves start to turn colors before dropping, or a change in scenery as the rainy season breathes color back into dry lands. We see it as we walk with our little ones, we notice this change in the wind and smells and sounds of our outdoor spaces.
As often happens with change, this transition in weather and nature stirs up a desire to remember back over the seasons past and look ahead to the coming days. For children, this remembering is not always a linear thought – it can be a pine cone found tucked safely in a treasure bag, a shell pulled from the bottom of a pocket, a stick that seemingly followed your little one home and now rests by the door. These bits of nature bring us back to the time and place the treasure was discovered, their tangible nature helping to emotionally ground and connect big and little people alike within that memory.
Today we are both building on children’s natural inclination to collect things, and we are using literature to further connections, as your little one crafts a walking stick.
(Is this your first project with us? Be sure to read a Letter to the Grown-Ups before you begin!)
You will need:
- Daniel and His Walking Stick by Wendy McCormick, illustrated by Constance Bergum
- a walking stick
- collected bits of nature
- string or yarn
- (optional) paint and glue
- any other decorations you’d like to include (we opted to add jingle bells)
What to do:
Start by reading Daniel and His Walking Stick. It is a sweet tale about a child from the city who meets an old man, a friend of her grandfather, during a visit to the country. He teaches her about the woods and land. She considers him to be an honorary grandfather. It is a wonderful example of the role adults can play in the life of a child, even if they are not related, and how much richer those relationships make a child’s world as well.
Now you can go for a walk and gather up a stick and any pieces of nature that you gravitate towards.
Time to decorate your walking stick with whatever medium you choose – paint, finger-paint, crayons, markers, etc. Like the seasons, this stick can be a transitional piece – added to and culled however your child desires throughout the year.
The bits of nature your little one has collected on walks can be tied, wrapped or glued onto the stick.
Go for another walk with your fancy new walking stick – what fun!!
What else can you use to decorate your walking stick with?
Do some things not work very well for decorating wood? Why do you think that’s so?
How are the bits of nature different now than they were this summer? How are they the same?
Grownups – what special story about your child and their grandparent(s) can you share?
Does your child have a Daniel of their own in their world? Ask your child to share something about this person.
Daniel found his walking stick under a birch tree, where did you find yours? Who were you with?
Connect with us
So how did your Walking Stick turn out? What did you use to decorate it? Please share your stories and pictures in the comments section below, on our Facebook page, or email us and we will feature you on our site – we look forward to connecting with you there.…
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