Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fun activity for hiking teens: Songlines

What are the lyrics for these kids' songline?
Generally, exploring and discovery is enough for kids, but sometimes even they can grow bored with that and become restless. Remember that they naturally have shorter attention spans than adults.

Fortunately, there are lots of tried and true activities you can do on the trail that’ll keep kids from getting bored. Among them is Songlines.

Rather than use written maps, Australia’s Aborigines traditionally created maps by using songlines; that is, they created songs giving directions for getting from one place to another. Teenagers will find creating songlines for the trail they’re hiking a fun challenge.

To create a songline, start by using the melody of a well-known song, such as “Row, Row Your Boat” or “Happy Birthday.” As coming upon a key marker on the trail (like a large boulder or the tallest tree in the woods), add a new line to the song.

Have someone in the group write down the lyrics. Years later, the songline can bring back great memories of the trail, thanks to the power of music.

As completing the hike, talk a little with the teens about the songlines. Is it an effective way to navigate? Why or why not? Could someone else navigate the trail using the songline they devised? How would they pass on the songline to another (It’s not as simple as simply handing someone a piece of paper!).

Materials: Pen or pencil, paper, clipboard

Ages: 12 and up

Learn about more than a hundred other hiking diversions for kids in Hikes with Tykes: Games and Activities.