Story Walk – Creativity Through Nature

Let us learn how to weave stories in nature and grow our creative side. Discover some beautiful ideas to create a story walk in your neighbourhood and make use of those stories to create new connections – with each other as well as with nature.

The Story Walk is part of our Nature Play initiative: a monthly program for parents, teachers, and their tormentors.

In a thought provoking talk by Sir Ken Robinson, he talks about the role of creativity in our lives. He says, “Nobody has a clue despite all the expertise, what the world will look like in the future. And yet, we’re meant to be educating for it. So the unpredictability, I think, is extraordinary. My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”

This article has a collection of creative prompts that introduce you to the basic principles of story-telling and show you a simple format for inventing engaging short stories. Tap into your imagination with these ideas and see what stories find their way into your mind.

“Seeds of stories, can create a forest of friends”


Story Walk – Activities

A story walk session typically takes about 60~90 minutes. It is suitable for all age groups and creates more delightful results when people of different ages participate together.

Give around 15 minutes for each activity – 10 minutes for exploring, walking, writing and 5 minutes for sharing the stories. If there are a large number of participants, create smaller groups of 5 or less for sharing. Smaller groups create more meaningful engagements.

Any safe space in nature works for a story walk. Make pairs to create responsibility and manage the group better. At the end of each activity, have pre-decided meeting points for sharing stories from that section. These ideas are mere suggestions. Feel free to make your own. Stay creative.

GROUP STORY: Each person adds a line to create a story. Alternate people add positive and negative twists. E.g: Person a> Boy falls into a ditch  Person b> He finds a diamond… Person c> But a magpie steal it from his hand…..and so on.
* One of the simplest principles of creating good stories is to add twists and turns. A good story is seldom predictable. Just like nature.

HEROES & VILLAINS: Take a short nature walk. Find or create ‘Hero and Villain’ pairs. E.g: Flower and thorn | Light and shadow.
* Creating opposites, creates interesting characters. And all characters are defined by their relationship to each other. Observe nature deeply and you will find struggle and conflict but also co-operation and companionship.

ONE LINE STORY: Create a story in one line. The story should have a hero and a villain. (The villain can even be a challenging situation in life) E.g: The crow liked to sing, but had no audience.
* Sometimes one can feel creatively challenged or stuck. One line stories are like tiny seeds that can grow into a huge tree over time. Learning to create one line stories gives you the ability to understand the heart of a story.

TREE STORY: Find an interesting tree and tell its story. (Maximum 3 lines)
* There is a story hidden in every object of nature. By observing nature through all our senses, we can learn how to bring these invisible stories to life. And telling stories from nature is a wonderful way of deepening our relationship with it.

TURNING POINTS: Divide into pairs. Tell each other two turning points from your own life-story. One bad, one good. 
* Humans are part of nature too. And like everything else, each one of us carries our own unique story. Sharing the turning points of life helps us give a brief window to others about our journey through time.

FUTURE STORY: Use your imagination to travel into the future. Write a story from the future for your present self.
* This closing exercise allows participants to spend some solo time in nature. Reflecting on Time in nature is a humbling and meditative experience. The gift of storytelling helps us connect with our present self and imagine new possibilities for the future.

Here’s a short summary of the story activities in a handy poster that you can save for use later. Feel free to add more ideas for the ‘Story Walk’ in the comments section, so that others can learn and experiment with them later. Do add stories from your walks to our Facebook group and check out some amazing forest stories from around the world.

Story Walk
*Poster download link at the end of the article.

How Story Walks Enhance Creativity

“We know two things about intelligence. One, it’s diverse. We think about the world in all the ways that we experience it. We think visually, we think in sound, we think kinaesthetically. We think in abstract terms, we think in movement. Secondly, intelligence is dynamic. If you look at the interactions of a human brain, intelligence is wonderfully interactive. The brain isn’t divided into compartments. In fact, creativity more often than not comes about through the interaction of different disciplinary ways of seeing things.”
~Sir Ken Robinson

Nature provides space for imaginative play. The focus is on learning through experience. Because all our senses are engaged, learning in nature is more long lasting.The brain gets a boost from the elements of nature, and interactions with others. It leads to increased confidence and creativity, resulting in enhanced problem solving skills. However, the biggest benefit that comes from Story walks is the unhindered flow of ideas. The stories you write are seeds that can create a forest of friends.

Story Walk: Closure + Contest

Our minds have extraordinary capacities, and creativity enables us to face the many challenges of an uncertain future. In fact it is the creative people who will be responsible for shaping the future we step into. 

Earth needs more storytellers and stories from nature, so that we can raise awareness about the unprecedented change that is facing our planet. We hope you will get a chance to try out the story walk. Add your stories to our Facebook group – ‘Art of Nature’ and a few participants will get a surprise gift from us. Download the Story Walk poster here.

Please share this post so it reaches those who will find it useful.

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