Have you heard of a bindle? It is a word used to describe a sack, bag or bundle carried at the end of a stick over your shoulder. Often it is seen in the cultural images of American hobos, train culture, and traveling.
This summer you can make a fun little bindle for your child to do some nature exploring. For this bindle we had a focus on some pond exploring, but you can add anything to your child’s bindle that relates to an area of exploration for your own habitat or focused learning area.
What is the secret to this bindle? I added a little pocket so that the exploration journal has a dedicated spot, keeping it easy to grab and clean.
2 pieces of cotton cloth or bandanas
1 small square of accenting cotton for inside pocket
Sewing machine or hand sewing supplies
Pocket journal- I recommend Moleskine kraft journals- they are well made with great covers that lend themselves to being stamped or decorated.
For this tutorial I used two bandanas. They are cotton, affordable, and easy to find. It does create a smaller bindle. If you would like a larger bindle you can use two larger squares of fabric. Using two standard bandanas creates a completed bindle approximately 18 inches x 20 inches in size. For the pocket fabric I cut a square approximately 5 inches x 6 inches. Prewash all the fabrics.
Choose which fabric will become the inside of the bindle. Mark and measure 9 inches down from one corner of the bandana or fabric. Prepare the fabric for your pocket. Press a finished hem for the top of the pocket and stitch across. Press a single fold seam on the other three edges and then pin in place where you have marked on the bandana or fabric. You want the opening pointing up, towards the corner. Stitch the three sides down, leaving the top of the pocket open. Clip threads when finished. I used a straight stitch, but you could also add a zig-zag stitch.
Put right sides together on the two pieces of fabric. Stitch around the entire piece leaving an opening to pull the bindle back through, much like making a pillowcase. Be sure to trim your corners and pull the bindle through the opening when finished stitching. Poke the corners out, press and do a final stitch around the entire edge, securing the opening.
Add a journal to the pocket and exploration supplies. We often include a magnifying glass, small glass collection jar, colored pencils, ruler and field guides.
When you are ready to go exploring lay out your bindle, put the stick through the center and tie the opposite corners together to create the bindle. When you are ready to explore simple lay down your bindle, untie and all your supplies are spread out on the fabric. Have fun bindle exploring!
Here are a few of our favorite story resources for pond exploration storytelling:
Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis
Pond Circle by Betsy Franco
Curious Fish by Elsa Beskow
Chris Willow is a mother, crafter, storyteller and toymaker. She enjoys creating roots with mothers and children in her community. Her inspiration has always grown from her world she shares with her husband and two sons in the beautiful Midwest. She has a store on Etsy and blogs at mamaroots where she has several free projects designed for Story Tables.