Native people have always recognized or imbued in animals certain human like traits, easily recognized by youth. Otters appear to be playful, and squirrels assertive. No one questions the strength of a bear, the extraordinary expressions of a frog, or the patience of a spider. (Thom Henley)
I got the idea to do the Empowerment Pebbles with my Little Humbugs nature class after reading a marvelous book “REDISCOVERY” by Thom Henley. A fascinating read and full of outdoor activities based on Native traditions.
For my Little Humbugs nature class, I decided to get the children to search for 7 smooth pebbles, one for each day of the week.
Using simple drawings of animals listed below, paint or draw your designs on the rocks.
Once the child has drawn a design on each pebble, tell them the special gift that each of these animals bring to them and ask them to think about how they can use this gift in their own lives. Use animals that are native to your region and familiar to your child.
WOLF: Special Person – Just as the wolf howls its proud song to the moon, you too can recognize that you are a unique and special child. You are a lovable and wonderful child!
RAVEN: Curiosity – The raven is never bored, always curious, always exploring every corner of the world. So too can you awaken your sense of wonder – discover nature and its endless wonder.
SALMON: Sharing – just as the salmon shares its body with the bear, otter, eagle and human, so too can you learn to share your food, your feelings, your fears, your books and toys. Sharing is one of the most important traditions.
SPIDER: Patience – Spider spins her web and waits, and waits, and waits…Spider knows that her patience will be rewarded with a fly in her trap and a meal for her young. You too can learn the lesson of patience; all things will not come to you instantly.
BEAR: Strength – The powerful grizzly bear will bring you to the gift of strength-inner strength to help you through sad moments in your life. Like the mother grizzly bear who overturns logs to feed insects to her cubs, or to protect them from danger, you too can learn to be strong.
HUMMINGBIRD: Happiness – Hummingbird, this joyful little spirit, brings happiness into your life. All the sweetness in the nectar is yours. Remember to take time and smell the flowers and find joy in all you see and do.
DEER: Peacefulness – The gentle deer brings you the gift of a peaceful spirit. Deers are always aware, always alert, but at the same time they are peaceful and gentle. Take time to be quiet. Ask your parents to take you to a beautiful meadow of wildflowers or the hushed silence of the forest and you will know the gift of the deer.
The youngest in my class (6yrs) turned over each pebble after drawing her animal and wrote the meaning on the back of the pebble. I was very impressed by this action and all the other children followed suit.
How to use your spirit pebbles.
At the beginning of the week, get your child to close their eyes and randomly draw one pebble from the pouch. This will be their special power, or focus, for the day. By keeping that day’s pebble as a touch stone in their pockets, they will be reminded of their discipline throughout the day. At the end of the week all pebbles will have been drawn and are then returned to the pouch. Once a month your child could have a special day to reflect on being joyful, patient, generous etc.
Use recycled felt or a scrap of old material to make a pouch to store your pebbles.
The beauty of the journey of Empowerment play is that it brings the animals alive for the children in a way they’ll long remember.
This was one one of my favorite and most rewarding activities out of all the The Little Humbugs nature camp activities. I really do hope you make time to do this wonderful nature craft with your children. If you would like a copy of my Little Humbugs Spirit Pebbles worksheet, drop me an email:firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Thom Henley for writing “Rediscovery“. It has been an inspiration and continued resource for my work. The Little Humbugs live very similar to how the Native American Indians used to live and I am thrilled to be able to incorporate a little of the Native American Indians traditional teachings in my work.
“Children need to be together in nature, so they can learn to respect, accept and understand each other better. Native American Indians have something important to teach about respect for the earth and all our relations that live here.” Erma Bearstops, Lakota Elder.
“As a parent, environmentalist, and a scientist I cannot conceive of a more important program than Rediscovery.” David Suzuki