Who doesn’t love a good stick?
Take a walk with children in tow and you are guaranteed to come back a few sticks better off. Why? Because a stick can be anything. A sword, a wand, a unicorn horn, a fishing rod, a measuring tool. The opportunities are truly endless.
And as an Early Year's Teacher, that’s why I love sticks too. An old school of mine had a large oak tree right in the centre of the playground. After one particularly blustery afternoon, the tree scattered an assortment of sticks onto our play area. “It’s raining sticks!” one child shrieked in delight. It was soon clear that there was a wealth of creative learning opportunities to gain from this stick shower.
There are three books in particular that I love to read before a woodland walk to spark interest. Stickman by Julia Donaldson is an obvious choice and an all-round firm favourite. The tale of Stickman who finds himself being taken further and further away from his family tree and being used for a variety of unfavourable things including a mast for a sandcastle, a pooh-stick for a race and even a stick for a fire! My class have loved making their own ‘Stick Man’ (or Stick Lady Love!) and taking them on a whirlwind of adventures. We have recorded some fantastic videos and scribed some lively stories as evidence of their learning.
Another personal favourite of mine is Stanley’s Stick by John Hegley. The beautiful, whimsical illustrations tell the story of Stanley and his stick on their adventures together. Stanley is determined to give his stick a name, but every option he comes up with doesn’t seem quite right. His quest for the perfect name takes him on a host of adventures and eventually he ends up at the seaside where Stanley casts the stick into the ocean for another child to enjoy. After having collected sticks on a walk in a wood, Stanley’s Stick encouraged a wealth of storytelling and stick-naming. We have left out ribbons, string and an assortment of other natural materials for the children to independently embellish their sticks and bring them to life. We had magic wands, spoons for potions, swords and lightsabers, spades for finding hidden pirate treasure – the children surprised me with their endless ideas and stick enthusiasm!
Another addition to the stick collection is Not a Stick by Antionette Portis. A simple story that follows a dialogue narrative as a boy defends his ‘not-a-stick’ in a variety of funny scenarios. A perfect stick story for practising role play, dialogue, and encouraging children to join in.
If you’ve been lucky enough to have a stick shower, or have a woodland nearby, these books will complement your adventures perfectly. Need some further book ideas? See our full collection of stick books below ..