Purpose is to introduce the idea that preparation for an adventure or outdoor activity can make it a lot more fun, comfortable and safe, while also engaging the children in the outdoors with their imagination and senses. This activity also serves to get the children outside in the fresh air for a break if indoors all day!
Start off by telling your child that you are all going on trek to the woods (or they can come up with a location).
But prior to going outside, you must all go through the preparation questions list (as per below).
Ask what should we bring with us? What do you think we will need going to the woods? Start off by asking something ridiculous i.e. Do you think we will need a tractor? Or a TV? Or a couch? No? Really… ok what might we need? Use a sheet of paper and colours to make a big list. If practical, let them prepare a backpack.
What would we do if it rains? What would we do if we got hungry? How will we know where we are going? What would we do if we got lost? What would we do if we got thirsty? What would we do if it was really hot? What would we do if we got super cold? What would we do if the ground was really muddy? Have we food/drinks? what will we do with our rubbish? Are we bringing our dog? Will we take pictures? Ok, do we need to add anything else to our list? No. Brilliant, let’s go on an adventure…
Then if the weather is suitable and if there is space outdoors, head outside and take a walk around your garden or within the recommended 2 km limit. At different parts of the walk – you can tell them “Oh no, it’s starting to rain what will we do?” Hopefully they have been primed from the previous questions and they have their imaginary rain coats with them.
You can all mime putting on the imaginary rain coat. Battle the imaginary wind, rain, sleet, snow, gales… track imaginary wild animals and build an imaginary shelter… looking at your imaginary map…have your imaginary picnic, tidy up afterwards, pack your rubbish in your bags to take home, walk your imaginary dog, clean up after it, track your way back home.
When you return to your home, discuss how well prepared they would have been for their adventure if it was a real trek. What were they missing and what are the implications of going into the outdoors without proper preparation.
If no outdoor space is available, this activity can be done inside allowing the children to use their imagination further. Have an imaginary trek through your house!
This is the first principle of Leave No Trace Ireland, Plan Ahead and Prepare. Leave No Trace Ireland encourages everyone to protect the environment by following the 7 principles. More information on www.leavenotraceireand.org