Backyard Nature Activities: A Dozen Touches

This activity is taught in Hike NS’s Re-Connecting with Nature workshop offered each year in locations throughout the province. This is a one-day, hands-on workshop for adults held mostly outdoors to improve your ability to lead and share an appreciation and understanding of nature with children and youth. We plan to have a schedule available in May for workshops hopefully scheduled in late June and in the fall, if possible.

A Dozen Touches / Touch Box

Synopsis: Participants work in pairs to find small natural objects that they put in a “touch box” with each compartment labeled with an adjective describing a touch word. They then trade their box with another pair and while blindfolded or with their eyes closed, they have to guess what the word is based on their touching it. 

Set-up & Props: Tape or glue a strip of paper over the top of an egg carton and print “Touch Box” on it. Decorate the box and label with crayons, markers or coloured pencils. Write the following touch words in the bottom of the compartments of the carton: wet, dry, rough, smooth, soft, hard, round, flat, dull, sharp, fuzzy, prickly. Put a different word in each compartment. Have a blindfold for every two participants. Any area is suitable. 

Source: Adapted from Earthwalks by Kirk Hoessle & Steve Van Matre, Institute for Earth Education, 1980. 

Activity 

1. Intro Touch Box Challenge: Has anyone ever collected a box of touches? I have, I am an expert at it. I challenge you to see how good you are. Here is a box for a ‘dozen touches’… You thought it was an egg carton but it’s not! Here is the challenge. There is a touch word written in each compartment of the box. I want you to work in pairs and find a small natural object that has the feel described for each word. Put that object in the right compartment. When you return with your box full, we are going to have a guessing game. 

2. Pairs Find Touches: Help pairs as they search for touches to fill their box. Separate the pairs from each other. 

3. Split Pairs, Trade Boxes & Guess Touch Words: When the pairs return with the boxes full, have one person from a pair share their box with a person in another pair. In turn that person’s partner shares their box with the first person’s partner. In each case, give the guesser a blindfold, and then (s)he tries to guess the words in each compartment by the feel of the object. The person with the box helps the guesser and tells him or her if (s)he has the correct answer. 

Early Childhood Adaptation: Young children cannot read the labels, so call textures out verbally. Use a simple tray (e.g. aluminum pie plate) instead of egg carton; give one to each child to put their collection in. “Get your fingers warmed up, wiggle them and do some stretching moves.” Remind them not to pick living things. Have the entire group look for the same “touch” (ie. rough, smooth, hard, squishy, etc). When finished make a “gift for a tree or plant” by dumping the tray at its base. Discuss what plants and trees need to grow, decompose, etc. Or, make a Touch Box by cutting a hole in the side of a shoebox for a hand to fit in. Someone puts something to touch in the box, and someone else puts their hand in and tries to guess. 

2019 Slate of Hike NS Courses Released

Hike Nova Scotia’s schedule of 2019 courses and workshops across the province is now available. From June to October and from one end of the province to the other, they range from how to share nature with children to how to be a hike leader to navigation.

Quotes

“As a hiking organization, we want to see people have fun and stay safe and that’s what these courses are all about,” says Janet Barlow, Hike NS Executive Director. “Hiking and interest in outdoor activity is growing and these courses ensure both novice and experienced hikers have the skills they need for a great time on the trail.”

Details

The specific offerings include:

  • Re-Connecting with Nature Workshops
  • Field Leader – Hiking Courses
  • Navigation Maps & Compass Courses

Fast Facts

  • Re-Connecting with Nature Workshop: This is a one-day, hands-on workshop held mostly outdoors to improve your ability to lead and share an appreciation and understanding of nature with children and youth.
  • Field Leader – Hiking Course: A two-day course with a systematic approach to planning and managing a one-day hiking activity.
  • Navigation Maps & Compass Course: A two-day course with a comprehensive introduction to navigation using maps and compass.
  • Dates, locations and costs vary, depending upon the course or workshop.
  • Learn more and view the schedules and details at www.hikenovascotia.ca/courses-workshops.
  • Partners include the Outdoor Council of Canada and the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
  • Hike Nova Scotia encourages and promotes a growing hiking culture throughout our great province. We strive to be the voice for those who hike, walk and snowshoe. With every step we’re building a community of outdoor adventure enthusiasts.

Photos

Find photos on Facebook  or Instagram or use some of the photos on this page.

Social Media

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Contact

For more information on these events or Hike Nova Scotia contact:

Janet Barlow, Hike Nova Scotia
(902) 932-6902
info@hikenovascotia.ca
www.hikenovascotia.ca

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Slate of 2017-18 Hike NS Courses & Workshops Released

Hike NS’s schedule of courses and workshops across Nova Scotia is now available for 2017-18. Beginning in June through to February, they range from how to share nature with children to how to be a hike leader to navigation. 

Continue reading “Slate of 2017-18 Hike NS Courses & Workshops Released”

Hike NS Wins Bluenose Achievement Award

Hike NS was honoured to receive the Bluenose Achievement Award for its Re-Connecting with Nature Workshop series from Recreation Nova Scotia at its annual conference on September 28 in Pictou County.

The Bluenose Achievement Award recognizes an individual or community group that provides/supports activities and services that successfully achieves the values and benefits of recreation. The Re-Connecting with Nature workshop is a hands-on day of adventure to improve participants’ ability to lead and share an appreciation and understanding of nature with children and youth. Since the spring of 2015, 13 workshops have been offered across the province to almost 150 youth group leaders, recreation and camp staff, teachers, early childhood educators, parents and concerned citizens. The workshop series is a partnership of Hike NS with the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage and Acadia University.

Pictured receiving the award above from left to right are: Garnet McLaughlin (Hike NS President), Janet Barlow (Hike NS Executive Director) and George Taylor (a Re-Connecting with Nature Workshop Instructor). On the right is Meg Cuming (Recreation NS President) presenting the award.

Re-Connecting with Nature Workshop Oct. 17, Halifax

WorkshopGraphic-ReconnectingThe Re-Connecting with Nature workshop is a hands-on day of outdoor adventure to improve your ability to lead and share an appreciation and understanding of nature with children and youth. The workshop is suitable for youth group leaders, recreation and camp staff, teachers, early childhood educators, parents and concerned citizens. The aim is to increase leadership capacity in Nova Scotia in order to re-connect children and youth with nature. Continue reading “Re-Connecting with Nature Workshop Oct. 17, Halifax”

Re-Connecting with Nature Workshops June 12-24

WorkshopGraphic-ReconnectingThe Re-Connecting with Nature workshop is a hands-on day of outdoor adventure to improve your ability to lead and share an appreciation and understanding of nature with children and youth. The workshop is suitable for youth group leaders, recreation and camp staff, teachers, early childhood educators, parents and concerned citizens. The aim is to increase leadership capacity in Nova Scotia in order to re-connect children and youth with nature. Participants will improve their leadership skills, gain practical activity ideas, network with like-minded folks and have fun in nature. The workshop is offered through Hike Nova Scotia in partnership with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness with support from Acadia University.

Workshops will take place: June 12 in Truro; June 13 in Halifax; June 16 in Wolfville; June 19 in Barrachois; June 20 in Antigonish; and June 24 in Lunenburg. The workshop cost is $50 ($40 for members of Hike Nova Scotia). A $25 subsidy is available for parents not associated with an organization and for volunteer leaders. Registration includes a workshop manual and a one-year membership with Hike Nova Scotia. Learn more and register here.

Young Hiker Challenge

Calling all young hikers (and wannabe hikers)! Hike Nova Scotia challenges children and youth to get out on the trails. Keep track of the distances you hike and you could earn the Hiker Distance Award Badge! Tally these kilometres IMG_0877[1]-smallerwithin one year: ages 5 to 8: 15 km; ages 9 to 14: 30 km; ages 15 to adult: 45 km. No pre-registration is necessary for the Young Hiker Challenge, simply start hiking and keep track of how far you go! Use our special Youth Logbook to record your hikes. Youth that earn a patch by March 1, 2014 qualify for a prize draw for a $100 gift card. Hike NS thanks the IWK Community Grants and MEC for their support. Learn more here.

Hike NS Fall Guided Hike Series: Youth and Family Theme

Hike Nova ScotiaP4204819 and eight host organizations across the province have partnered up to offer the 2013 Fall Guided Hike series in September and October. There are 17 hikes led by local folks and participants qualify to win “trail prizes.” This year, many of the hikes have a Youth & Family Theme, with some featuring special activities for children and youth. Hike NS thanks its partners for organizing the hikes on the ground and to Backroad Mapbooks for its donations. Check out the list of events here.

Call for Groups to Organize Fall Guided Hikes: Youth and Family Theme

August 10, 2013 Deadline

Once again, Hike NS invites groups across NS to partner with it on delivering fall guided hikes in September and October of 2013. The purpose of the events is to: 1) get more people in NS hiking; 2) highlight local trails and increase their use; and 3) promote Hike NS and local trail/hiking groups and other partnering organizations. During the 2012 Fall Guided Hike series, 660 people attended 29 hikes organized locally by nine partnering groups.

Youth & Family Theme: This year, we’re encouraging hike host organizations to schedule a youth and family hike, one that is suited to families with children and youth. This means offering a hike of a length and difficulty level suited to children and youth and with activities attractive to kids. Hike NS will provide resources for activities to offer on hikes.

If you and your local organization would like to organize a hike, learn more and register your hike(s) online here no later than AUGUST 10, 2013.

2nd Tantallon Sparks Earn Hiking Patches

Hiking is where it’s at for the 2nd Tantallon Sparks Girl Guide unit. Over the last year, six of the Sparks took the Youth Hiker Distance Award Challenge in order to earn patches, or badges. For Girl Guides, there is a special challenge. Not only do they have to tally at least 15 km of hiking, but they also have to complete at least two of a list of other activities related to hiking. The 2nd Tantallon Sparks unit hiked more than 15 km on several occassions and they:

  • Researched and created a checklist of things you should bring on a hike to be safe and comfortable
  • Took part in a “Hug-A-Tree and Survive”
  • Learned about Leave No Trace Principles

Here are some photos of their hiking adventures:

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