50 Ways to play with sticks!

Sticks are such versatile playthings, and so readily available.  Using them for play can help strengthen a child’s fine and gross motor skills as well as their balance and coordination.  Their use can also help develop a child’s muscle tone, spatial awareness, body capabilities.  Fire up your imagination with these suggestions next time you have a stick handy.

  1. Make a cubby children can fit into: big sticks for the frame, small ones to fill in areas as per walls.
  2. Small sticks can be used to build a fairy or small person house: stacking on each other or leaning up against something.
  3. Make a flag, tying some cloth decorated as per your choice on the end
  4. Play fetch with your dog (or borrow someone’s) by throwing and having the dog retrieve.
  5. Build a pretend fire by layering sticks upon each other.
  6. Use another stick to stir your creation cooking on your pretend fire.
  7. Finish your pretend fire cooking by toasting pretend (or real) marshmallows on a stick. YUM!
  8. Tap a stick on different surfaces in nature, listen to the difference in sounds that they make.
  9. Create a maze on the ground with sticks.
  10. Create a nature weaving frame with sticks.
  1. Make a funny face on the dirt with sticks.
  2. Make a ‘trap’: dig a hole and then cover it with different sized and shaped sticks laying side by side.
  3. Use it as a digging stick to discover what’s in the earth.
  4. Learn a basic knot with a rope and use this to make a bush swing where the stick is the seat.
  5. Collect at least 3 strong, thick sticks and use the knots you learned to make a ladder where the sticks are the rungs.
  6. Sort different shaped sticks into different lengths or thicknesses.
  7. Order these sticks in ascending/descending order of length or thickness.
  8. Create shapes on the ground with sticks as the shapes’ sides/edges.
  9. Use 4 sticks to make a rectangle on the ground: a frame for your nature art.
  10. Create nature paint brushes with sticks.
  1. Slither a stick along the ground like a snake to make patterns.
  2. Wrap a stick in string/wool to decorate it, strengthening fine motor skills
  3. Tie another stick to the other end of your fishing line: you caught an eel!
  4. Collect 4 sticks of similar length and thickness, learn a lashing technique to join them together.
  5. Find a stick shaped like the letter Y and tie some elastic or stretchy material between the V part to make a sling shot.
  6. Find a stick shaped like the letter Y and tie some string between the V part to make a bubble wand, dipping the created triangle into bubble mixture.
  7. Stir your mud kitchen creations with a stick spoon.
  8. Build a wood-fired oven with sticks, fire it with sticks and cook your mud kitchen creations in it.
  9. Use string to lash small sticks across two longer mainframe sticks to create a raft or boat to float in a puddle or bucket, a creek, or lake or in your bath.
  1. Collect small sticks as well as leaves, bark, grass and feathers.  Shape, thread and twine them together into a comfortable nest for a bird.
  2. Make the same shaped nest only bigger using large sticks and other materials on the ground, like an emu would.
  3. Practice air guitar moves by pretending your stick is a guitar.
  4. Your band needs some percussion: line up another set of sticks like xylophone bars and use an extra one to strike them to play.
  5. Sing into one like a microphone – you now have a full band!
  6. Or you could direct your orchestral band with a stick as a baton.
  7. Angle 3 large sticks upwards in a tent shape, lash together at the top and put some stretchy material across the front triangle.  Pull back and release – you have made a catapult
  8. Respecting your opponent, have a duel with your stick swords.
  9. Lash two sticks together in an X shape, attach cloth or paper to the front and a string tail: fly your kite!
  10. Tie a piece of string to the end of a stick to make a fishing rod, dip your line into water.
  1. Create your own magic wand and wave your stick to make a wish or turn someone into a frog.
  2. Straddle a stick and go for a horse ride somewhere.
  3. Choose some things from nature, such as a feather, leaf, rock or bark and hang them from a long stick to create a nature mobile (if you order them from lightest to heaviest, you can tell how strong the wind is blowing, making a wind catcher).
  4. Go skiing with two sticks as your ski poles.
  5. Use sticks as sports equipment:  hockey stick, cricket bat, tennis racquet.  Have a game with someone using other things from nature as extra equipment you might need.
  6. Go boating with a stick as your paddle.
  7. Make a bridge over a creek, gutter or puddle with lots of collected sticks.
  8. Pass your stick as a relay baton in a team race.
  9. Lash together several sticks in their centres to make a shining star ornament.
  10. Whittle a stick using our Opinel first pocket knife or whittling peeler and create all sorts of wonderful things such as wands, gnomes, spoons, whistles and sling shots.