Take Only Photos, Leave Only Footprints

take only photos leave only footprints

Hike along the majestic Grand Canyon, stopping along the way to enjoy the view, snap photos, and take a much-needed water break!

hiking the canyon

We read In the Canyon, written by Liz Garton Scanlon, and illustrated by Ashley Wolff (Beach Lane Books, 2015). Join a little girl and her family as they hike down the Grand Canyon. The clever rhymes, bold illustrations, and depictions of nature and wildlife make this the perfect read-aloud for story time!

You’ll need:

  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • Construction paper
  • 1 small box (ours was 2.5″ x 3″ x 4″)
  • Aluminum foil
  • 1 tape core
  • 1 canyon photos template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ white card stock
  • 1 canyon game (more on this later!)
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating

First, the camera! Any small box will do, you’ll just need to cut a slit in the front of the box for your “photos” to slide into. Luckily, we had a whole bunch of recycled OcuSoft lid scrub boxes that made perfect old-school Polaroid cameras. We covered the box with tin foil, add a tape core lens, made a flash out of a large gemstone on a large plastic button, and used a little patterned tape to add some color!

camera boxesNext up, the hiker! We encouraged kids to use construction paper and patterned paper to make mini versions of themselves. Since you should never hike without a hat, we had the kids fashion one out of trimmed 3.5oz plastic cups with construction paper brims.

hikerNotice the little paper clip sticking out the back of the hat? If you’re going to play the canyon game, you’ll need to tape a small paperclip to the back of the hat. And speaking of the canyon game, here it is…

finished canyon gameThis is a huge flat box we wrestled out of the recycling pile. I hot glued crumpled brown packing paper to create a hiking trail back and forth across the box. I also hot glued little “rest stop” boxes along the pathway. This is a rest stop in the middle of the path:

hiking rest stopLater, I covered the rest stops with paper, and added photos from the template to signal that this was a “photo op.” Here’s the photo op at the very end of the trail.

final stop on canyon trailWe fashioned a fishing pole out of PVC pipe, and attached a paper clip to the end of the string. To play the canyon game, hook your tp tube person onto the fishing pole, and walk him/her up the canyon path, taking time to pause at the rest stops and snap a photo with your camera. We also had a “water break” station and gave kids a little sample cup of water.

hiking the canyonEvery time the camera “snapped” a picture, we would give the kids a matching photo from the template to slide into their cameras.

canyon photosWhen you’re done hiking, you can color in your photos! Oh, you’ll notice the template has one blank photo. That’s so you can draw whatever photo you’d like. We recommend a well-deserved canyon selfie!

canyon selfie

See-Worthy Sub

see-worthy sub

Undersea adventure abounds as you cruise the sea in your sub! The sub also doubles as a spyglass, so you can spot all sorts of aquatic wildlife. See the happy jumping fish?

fish in spyglassWe recommend Rub-a-Dub Sub, written by Linda Ashman, and illustrated by Jeff Mack (Harcourt, 2003). Zooming around in an orange submarine, a little boy encounters numerous ocean creatures – a seal, a manta ray, a horseshoe crab, and an eel to name a few! But an encounter with an enormous shark forces him to quickly retrace his steps to the surface, where he finds himself safe and sound – in his very own bathtub.

You’ll need:

  • 2 paper cups
  • A box cutter
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating

Optional:

  • 1 paper towel tube
  • Hot glue

I’ll show you the simplest version of the sub project first, then follow it with the paper towel tube variation. Use a box cutter to cut the circles in the bottoms of 2 paper cups. Make sure to leave a little ledge around the bottom of the cup.

leave a ledge in cupNext, turn the cups end-to-end and connect them together with hot glue. If you can’t do hot glue, simply connect the cups with tape. We used black masking tape for the photo below, but regular tape works just as well.

taped sub cupsFor the paper towel tube version of the project, cut the holes in the bottoms of the cups. Then place a piece of paper towel tube inside the bottom cup (our tube piece was 6.75″ long but you might have to adjust yours a little). Place the second cup over top of the first…

pt tube variationThen hot glue (or tape) the two cups together. So…is the extra effort for the paper towel version worth it? You decide! Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the 2 projects. One could argue that the paper towel tube version looks more like a spyglass, but the cups-only version is cute too.

comparing spyglass viewsNext, cut a periscope shape out of construction paper, tab the bottom, and attach the periscope to the top of the sub. Finally, use markers to give your sub portholes, plates, rivets, and bolts. Any markers will do, but we really liked how silver metallic marker looked on the black paper cups.

finished see-worthy subMiss Marissa designed this awesome project, and she made a fantastic I-Spy game to go with it! To play, print up the characters in this template (click here for small on a single page, click here for large on multiple pages). Tape the characters in different locations and have the kids find them with their sub spyglasses. However, if you spot the shark you have to immediately head back to “home base.” This is especially funny if the shark is taped to the back of an adult who is wandering among the submarine searchers!

marissa's shark