Many parents proudly proclaim that they and their kids “went on a nature walk today!” Living in the downtown area of the city makes nature walks a little harder to do. I can’t even get to a park without driving there or walking ten blocks up a steep hill (hence, the driving). Rather than going on a “nature walk,” it’s more like “we went on a walk and accidentally ran into nature along the way.” Don’t get me wrong, I love that my toddler daughter likes to explore and learn what bits of the world aren’t just never-ending traffic and sirens and pavement and the skyscrapers she calls “da big, big houses!” But everything she finds comes home with us. Flowers? Rocks? Sticks? A worm? Bottle cap? They all come home tucked away in her crevices of her carseat, or pockets, or shoes, or the diaper bag; her hoarding is evident everywhere. The other day she carefully poured a scoopful of dirt into my pocket because she had no room for it in her own stuff.
One day, while browsing Pinterest (of course), I came across a project someone did for her daughter she named the “Fairy Loom.” It was the perfect solution to the nature hoarding issue, although I renamed it the “Nature Stick” for my daughter since she doesn’t care about fairies, but loves sticks. It works well as a storage solution, a toy, and a decoration.
- A Y-shaped, forked stick
- Nature-y things: leaves, flowers, etc. (I don’t recommend worms and bug and other live things though)
Evaluate your stick. This one was a little big for my daughter to hold!
We trimmed the stems a bit so the whole thing was more toddler-sized, and less likely to whack me over the head as she swung it around.
Grab your ribbon. My daughter desperately wanted to use some ladybug-printed ribbon I’ve hung onto for a while; obviously you can use whatever you’ve got on hand—or buy something pretty just for this project! Elastic might work too. Tie one end to one side of the forked part of the stick.
Wind it from one side to the other, making sure to pull it tight as you do so. You can also make a tight loop around the stick with each pass back and forth to make it less likely to slip loose. I didn’t specify the amount of ribbon you need because depending on the size of your stick you will need different lengths, but this was maybe a yard and a half or so.
Tie the end of the ribbon around the stick when you reach the top of the fork, or run out of ribbon.
Have your child gather their nature items. Together, weave them through the ribbon (probably not the worms and stuff though). You now have a nature stick! You can bring it with you on walks so your child can instantly store his or her treasures on the stick rather than getting smushed at the bottom of the diaper bag, and then stand it up in his or her room once you get home for a neat decoration. Just remember to switch out a few things before they get too rotted. You’re done!