A quiet solo walk can be an important and impactful way to nurture a child’s connection to the natural world. Observations from a simple two minute journey can develop memories for a lifetime. Time walking alone, listening to sounds, watching for colors, or the movement of birds, provides an opportunity for deeper connection. It also provides time to reflect on self and ask questions about the world around us.

Download our student and field-tested cards, which can be used to support the experience. You can also design your own cards to fit the specific environment you will explore, focusing on the native plants in your area and share them with us! Depending on the target age groups, cards can be as simple as indicating the presence of a nearby flowering plant, or as detailed as having the participant find a fallen alder seed cone and examine it.

Nature solo walk sign.

Tips for a successful solo plant walk

This exercise is designed for a small group of children accompanied by two adults. Here’s the best way to approach it:

  • Find a safe trail without spurs for at least 500 meters.
  • One adult stays with the kids while the other leaves first to lay down the cards.
  • Set clear verbal expectations and restate them on the first card with suggestions like, “Go solo and silent,” and “Leave cards where you find them.”
  • Dismiss hikers at 1 minute intervals. Encourage them to use all their senses and have one question to ask once the group reunites.
  • Plan to have a quiet activity to keep the group busy while each person waits for their turn on the trail or waits for the others at the end of the trail.
Buckeye sutterly on buckwheat. Credit Stephen Rosenthal.
Buckeye sutterly on buckwheat. Credit Stephen Rosenthal.

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