Skip to main content

Nature Bracelets

Winter can be an interesting time in the garden, though the leaves have fallen and there usually isn’t much growing in the garden at this time. It can still be a great time for discovery. One of my favorite discovery activities in the garden or outdoor classroom is making nature bracelets. Each student is given a piece of wide painter’s tape long enough to go around their wrist to form a bracelet. Students can help each other create a bracelet from the tape (sticky side out).  Students are then given time to explore the garden area to create their own nature bracelet.  It is good practice to use the rule of 10, if there are more than 10 of an object they can pick it, if not leave for others to enjoy. You may be surprised by all of the interesting things you will find in the winter. 

Each student’s bracelet will be a unique expression of them. Students can share their bracelets and learn to appreciate each other’s individuality. Self-awareness is one of the 5 SEL competencies and is the ability to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts and values and how they influence behavior across contexts. So much of the school day is spent on a set curriculum that does not always allow for uniqueness and individuality, in math there is often one right answer or in ELA students may all be reading the same book.  It is important to find activities that allow and encourage self expression. 

Teachers can benefit too! I want to share a personal experience I had in the past year. The nature bracelet activity is one I often share in garden workshops. As a virtual workshop date approached, I had planned to make my nature bracelet the night before. The rain derailed my plans and set me behind in the morning. With my stress level up, I hastily wrapped my tape around my wrist and headed into the backyard to quickly grab some nature jewels. Here’s the real jewel: I got so caught up in making my bracelet and discovering things I never knew were in my own backyard that I let myself lose track of time for a bit. Satisfied with my bracelet, I headed back inside and had a moment of self-realization that my stress level was lower and my mindset reframed from just a few minutes connecting with nature.