Activity time: 30 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Optional: Clipboards, drawing paper, and pens, pencils, or color pencils
- Optional: Paper for rubbing textures, and soft crayons or chalk
- Optional: Re-usable bags for collecting leaves or other small, natural items
- Optional: A guide to local trees
- Optional: A stethoscope
Preparation for Activity
- Identify an outdoor walk that all participants will be able to accomplish in the time allotted. Visit the trail, so you will be familiar with the "features" along the way.
- Choose which "mini activities" to include. Gather the materials and resources needed for each.
Description of Activity
Even 30 minutes of slowing down and noticing the trees and the nature around them can enable deep connection.
Here are some "mini activities" you might include during your walk:
- Provide clipboards with drawing paper, and pens, pencils, and a few color pencils. Ask participants to find a comfortable spot and close their eyes for as long as they like-at least a minute or two. Ask them to tune in to their less-used senses; we rely less on smell, hearing, and touch than sight. Encourage them to take their time to listen to the trees and then write or sketch a response. (This activity can take the entire 30 minutes if participants desire.
- Notice and feel the bark of different trees. Make bark rubbings with paper and crayons or colored pencils and compare them.
- Hug (and thank) a tree, making sure to avoid vines, hairy or otherwise, and biting insects.
- Collect leaves, and then make leaf rubbings, leaf collages, or simple leaf bouquets.
- Call on your own expertise, that of others in the group, and a tree guide to identify trees by their leaves, the shape of the tree, or other characteristics.
- If it's springtime, use a stethoscope to listen to the "heartbeat of a tree."
- Sing one or more of the songs from a previous workshop that participants enjoyed.
- Climb a tree. If you are lucky enough to have trees at the right stage and habit of growth (i.e., trees with branches low enough and sturdy enough to climb), as well as permission to climb, encourage everyone to climb into a tree. Take turns and encourage spotters on the ground for both children and adults. You need not climb high to enjoy the experience or to feel connected to the tree.
Including All Participants
Ensure that the location and the activities you choose are accessible to people of all ages and ability levels.