Used carefully, sticks can be a valuable (and free) natural play resource for kids. A simple stick is full of potential and has endless possibilities for play.
In our backyard we have a healthy supply of small and medium sticks thanks to our large gum trees. I try to only enforce two rules outside: keep yourself safe, and keep others safe. That’s it. As long as the kids are making safe choices, I encourage playing with sticks. And so far, no one has even come close to losing an eye!
Kate recently blogged about her experience with letting the Picklebums play with sticks. I thought I’d add to it by sharing some ideas your kids might like to try outside with sticks too:
Do you allow your kids to play with sticks?
If so, what other suggestions could you add to this list?
Catherine Oehlman is a mother, teacher, writer, picture book lover, outdoor play advocate, coffee drinker and self confessed bird-nerd. She still climbs trees and eats fairy bread – with or without her two young kids! Cath squiggles about topics close to her heart at her blog Squiggle Mum.
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
lynn root says
My co teachers would have a heart attack if I let the children play with sticks, I have had a difficult time just getting them to let the kids dig in the mud. Love your ideas.
Vacaville California, USA
Small steps Lynn! Digging in the mud is wonderful fun :-)
My girls are forever bringing sticks home from outings-we’re getting quite a collection
Ditto Shae. I even have a stick collection simply tied in a bundle with twine as a “display” piece!
Hi – I too am a stick lover or a mother of a stick lover. Since he learned to walk my son would pick up sticks and find uses for them. By three he was a Peter Pan fan and of course became a master swordsman. Whenever we went to a park he would receive dark looks from other mothers who would throw filthy looks at me for ‘allowing’ him to play with sticks. Like you, I have always given him strict guidelines for stick play and they include that he may not touch another person with a stick. I can honestly say that we have never had a stick injury but we have had a LOT of fun pretending that they were swords or bows and arrows or horses or magic wands or light sabres… He’s 7 now and his love affair is far from over. He creates whole camps with ‘fires’ and farms that he tends with stick hoes and scythes. Whilst other mothers’ disapproval was uncomfortable, I trusted my son to be safe and he was. I recognised that he shouldn’t do it if he would be encouraging a smaller child to emulate him who might not be able to make safe choices and he respected that I would make a good decision on when was appropriate and when not. So I say, ‘stick’ to your instincts and let little kids play with one of the oldest forms of entertainment known to mankind and learn to make safe choices for themselves – how else can they learn?
Thanks for the post – obviously you struck a chord with me for one!
[email protected] says
great ideas… didn’t occur to me that some of these things can be done with sticks! We basically use it for camping fires!
Sticks can be such a great resource and they don’t cost a cent!
Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas says
who knew sticks could provide so much fun! do come share these wonderful ideas on the Sunday Showcase- http://momto2poshlildivas.blogspot.com/search/label/Sunday%20Showcase
Little timber fcc says
At the center sticks are used for many things we have painted them and with them they have web used for color matching games when the tips have been colored we have used them as drum sticks and for noise makers on the cha fence we build with them and float them in puddles use them for hitting balls like a hockey stick among many other things I LOVE STICKS!