Activity 18 – Tubes to Totems

This week, the instructors here at Thornbridge Outdoors are challenging you to imagine the spirit animals that represent you, your family and friends, and your pets too. Your spirit animals, if you believe the Native Americans, are looking over you through your life. They’re always there to guide you and see you succeed. Every person and family has different spirit animals, as we’re all different from each other!

In this challenge, you’re going imagine each spirit animal that might represent you, and you’re going to design a ‘totem’ to symbolise each one. Once your totems are ready, you stack them together one on top of the next to create a mighty totem pole. This will stand tall at the entrance to your home, and any visitors who knock on the door, and who know how to read a totem pole, will know just who to expect inside.

Are you ready to connect with your spirit animals? Here are the instructions…

View/download here

Here at Thornbridge Outdoors, we encourage students to connect with nature when they come to visit us out in the Peak District. For many students, it’s the first time they’ve been to see a National Park and there will be a lots of ‘firsts’ during their stay with us. There is no set programme for a visit and that gives each group the freedom to experience the natural world in a way that’s valuable for them. Our instructors adapt and tailor the program for each residential to match the group’s needs, the aims of the visit, and the weather! If the trip is a success, we hope that it will quash any misconceptions that students may have had about the outdoors (it’s not all rain and mud!), it will show that the countryside is open to all, and it will spark a lifetime of curiosity in the natural world.



Please inspire your children/students to really get into the Tubes to Totems challenge. The totems don’t have to be matching – if you have a child or student who become easily distracted, you could encourage them to use a different type of art or craft to design each totem, to keep them interested. They could colour one, paint another, cut shapes from the third, and stick natural items on the fourth!

Please also encourage your children/students to be imaginative with the colours and animals that they choose, then they’ll have all sorts of great ideas to write about in their artist’s statement. For instance, they might have a pet dog, but they don’t have to choose the dog as a spirit animal. Instead, if their pet dog is a shy or cautious fellow, they could choose a turtle or a panther to be its spirit animal. Or, if their dog would be a good companion on a journey to another world, then it’s the puma!


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