For anyone who has been around for a while, it is pretty clear that we steer clear of screens for all of us. It isn’t that we see screen time as something bad or something to be avoided at all cost but rather it comes from feeling as though there is so much to do and so much to explore in our everyday lives that something else had to go and that something was screen time.
Our most recent series of exploring activities has been to explore with sticks. Sticks have endless possibilities, but here are 5 of our favorite stick activities.
- What’s Under There – Peel back the bark and take a look. Do you see bug tracks? Are there any holes from birds trying to find bugs for food? Feel the bark and then feel the wood underneath, do they feel the same or different? Why do you think trees have bark?
- Same and Different – Find several sticks. Work together to sort the sticks into piles. Can you sort them by bark texture? By color? By length? This activity is great for developing early math skills as well as improving observational skills.
- Dig! – This activity may be a hit only because there are three small boys in our house – though as much as I dislike the texture of mud I enjoy this one too. Find a mud puddle, creek bed or dirt pile and dig away. Sometimes we take treasures to hide and dig out. Other times we see if we can find something nature has hidden away. Sensory activities are awesome for toddlers as they explore most through their senses at this stage.
- Paint with Sticks – Take the paper and paint outdoors or bring the sticks in but either way using sticks as paint brushes makes for some interesting art. Different sticks lend different widths to the painting and the different bark types can lend texture if rolled across the page. The sky is the limit for these paintings.
- Play Lumber Yard – This activity started after a trip the local lumber yard for some supplies. Gather a whole bunch of sticks at the start. Then, have one of you be the worker and the other the customer. As the customer, we took turns asking for certain kinds of sticks to build some type of creation. The worker would find exactly what we needed for our project, hand it over and tell us the cost. After paying for our “lumber”, the customer would go and complete a project. Some projects required glue, paper, string and other materials and often didn’t look like anything in particular but it was creative fun none the less.