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Exploring nature with children: Wayfinding sticks

Children holding DIY Wayfinder sticks

Finding your way in the city or bush is a skill. It can be easy to get lost in nature, especially in dense bushland. Support children in your service or classroom to pay attention to their surroundings and learn to identify waypoints (reference points to help you navigate where you are using landmarks, for example) while exploring nature with wayfinding sticks!

How to make wayfinding sticks

  1. At the start of your walk, encourage the children to select their own sticks. It can be as long or short as they like.
  2. At different waypoints or interesting locations, the children can pick up something from nearby leaf litter and tie it onto the stick with wool. They could find flowers or loose pieces of bark to add to their wayfinding stick.
  3. On the way back, have the children return the items to the places they got them from or, if it’s not too destructive, they can keep the sticks as a memory of where they’ve been and the fun they had.
  4. Afterwards, invite the children to recall where they found the items on their walk. Discuss where they picked it up and how it got there, and it becomes a story stick for the walk they took.

Extend the STEM learning opportunities

  • You and the children can make seasonal memory sticks from items found in your outdoor area.
  • You and the children could even create a photo gallery of your memory sticks across the seasons. Invite the children to observe the changes in the leaves, flowers, and bark. For example, do the colours of the leaves change from summer to autumn?
  • If you have the chance, why not explore different parks and outdoor areas using wayfinding sticks? Encourage the children to explore the shapes, sizes, and colours of items found in different locations.
Hayley Bates
Article author: Hayley Bates
National Certifications Coordinator

This passionate mathematician and former science teacher will inspire you with her enthusiasm for inquiry-based learning and her determination to provide high-quality hands-on and fun professional development.

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