A journey stick is a short piece of stick with elastic bands wrapped around it. While children are outside, perhaps on a nature ramble, they can collect tiny samples of what they find and tuck them under the elastic. The value of this is that it prompts children to talk about where they have been and what they have done afterwards. Without this physical prompt younger children will often need a lot of adult support to talk about what they have done.
A similar idea is a strip of card with double sided tape stuck to it. It is gradually peeled back as tiny bits and pieces are added to it. Although I like the idea of a journey stick I found that children found the card and sticky tape easier to manage. Moreover the flowers tended to stay preserved on the card which meant that they can be kept and compared month by month. They then give a valuable visual prompt to the changing of the seasons.
Although these are usually thought of as something to do with young children I find that when I give these to adults (or make one myself) it tends to really ‘switch one on’ to observing the world around and noticing all of the flowers, plants and other things that there are in the surrounding area. Even when one has stopped collecting one carries on being much more observant. Consequently I think that even older children would benefit from this activity, perhaps linked to poetry if it does not fit in with their science curriculum.