Be inspired by John Muir – 10 of our favourite activitiesPublished: 15th April 2020
Try these creative ideas from the John Muir Award team
John Muir was an inventor, explorer, environmental campaigner, ecological thinker, artist, a farmer and writer. Here, the John Muir Award staff team share their favourite activities for learning about this inspiring man and his legacy. Many of these ideas can be done inside, on a balcony, in a back garden or during your daily walk from home.
As always, please stay safe at this time and follow latest government guidelines.
1. Create a ‘Muir-al’
You don’t need paint or fancy artist materials to create great artwork! Try using natural materials like sticks, stones, leaves and moss to create an artwork of Muir or an environmental issue you care about.
2. Discover in the Dark
John Muir had a woodworking accident with a file which left him temporarily blinded. Test out ways of connecting with nature without the sense of sight. Do you dare to put your trust in another person and let them guide you on a blindfolded walk? Close your eyes and sit quietly for 1 minute. How many different natural sounds can you hear? Can you name any of them?
3. Follow in Muir’s footsteps
John Muir famously made a 1,000 mile journey across America. Why not walk 1,000 steps from your home, school or local green space to see what you can discover? Walk in different directions and seasons. Or plan a 1,000 metre (1km) journey by foot, bike, wheelchair or skateboard!
4. Craft a mini Muir
John Muir was a skilled woodworker. Why not craft your own stickman Muir and take him out on adventures? Your mini Muir could even star in his own film. If you need some inspiration, watch this animation of Muir’s life by students from Edinburgh College.
5. Plot your own John Muir Way
The John Muir Way is a coast to coast route across Scotland. Set up your own ‘John Muir Way’ around your school grounds or garden. What are the most exciting places you want visitors to see on their journey? Make signposts or a map to guide the way.
6. Read all about it
John Muir certainly made the most of life. You can read about some of his many adventures in the graphic novel ‘John Muir – Earth, Planet, Universe’. Why not try making some wooden ‘story cookies’ to illustrate the key events, then use them to re-tell the story?
7. Try ‘Muir-ienteering’
Set up a John Muir themed orienteering course or geocaching trail. Who can locate all the checkpoints and collect answers to questions about John Muir in the quickest time?
8. Reach great heights
Learn about how John Muir protected the giant redwood tree - the tallest tree species in the world. Giant Redwoods grow to an average height of 300ft (91 m)! Guess how far 300m is along the ground, then measure out to see how close you were. How many lengths of your living room or garden is this? Lie on the ground and measure yourself – how many of you would need to stand on each other’s shoulders to be the same height as a giant redwood tree?
9. Make a Mini National Park
John Muir helped to create the world’s first National Parks. Find out about National Parks today. Each UK National Parks has special qualities. Try the mini National Park activity from Mission Explore:John Muir. Decide on the special qualities of your National Park and think about how you will protect it.
10. Inspire others
Muir famously ignited passions, inspiring people though his speeches, writing and actions. He still inspires people to this day! Research some of Muir’s quotes and then look at quotes from modern day campaigners such as David Attenborough or Greta Thunberg. Can you create your own John Muir style quotes to inspire others to enjoy and care for wild places?
- Still looking for more ideas? Take a look at the John Muir Resource Guide and discoverjohnmuir.com.
- John Muir’s Birthplace also has a learning area full of activities and fact sheets.
- This article was created for John Muir Day 2020. See our ideas for 6 ways to mark John Muir Day.