For those of you anxiously awaiting the next "world's top toy" post, here it is!
Number 1 was STICKS.
Number 2 was BOXES.
Global toy #3 is STRING! Or string's bigger sibling: ROPE!
There are many amazing things you can do with a pile of rope or string...
Whenever we pull out some rope in our forest school settings, it's fun to see what develops. Here are some examples:
And how could I talk about rope without mentioning the art of knot-tying? Sounds kind of boy-scout-ish, but it can be a lot of fun once you give it a try. There are lots of resources that can help you perfect your knots. Animated Knots is one of my favourites.
And this Ylvis video makes the trucker's hitch knot look seriously cool:
For more inspiration, see:
Global Toy #1 was sticks. Piles of fun in a pile of sticks.
Toy #2: brown paper packages, tied up with string... BOXES!!!
A building material that is free and relatively easy to find... and can lead to endless creations - some indoors, others outdoors.
Consider doing this for a Christmas gift: get a box - as big as you can find - and fill it with some extras, like scrap pieces of fabric, a set of markers, scissors, and some colourful duct tape - and see what happens.
Here are some video resources for inspiration. First off, Caine's Arcade, an inspirational story about a movement that has inspired creativity and innovation.
And the second one: Adventures of a Cardboard Box, a charming short film showing a boy who finds many uses for his beloved, big cardboard box.
If you'd like to add an inspirational book to your gift-box, consider this one (same author as Not a Stick): Not a Box by Antoinette Portis.
Some other inspiring ideas to consider:
* colour in your box
* a 73-box fort in the "box room" of the house
And some visual inspiration: some daunting, some totally do-able:
Happy cardboard creating!
Wondering what to get your child for Christmas? How about some sticks?
In a museum exhibit in London, England, 5 top toys were listed as most loved and used by our world's children.
What are the world's 5 top toys?
I'll let you in on that secret in 5 blog posts - but feel free to guess away!
So, to start off: one of the world's top 5 toys: STICKS!
Sticks can come in various sizes, and can be found wherever there are trees. They can also be found in various colours. Look what we made with some dogwood and willow sticks at the Woodland Ornament event last evening:
If you'd like a book to add to your pile-of-sticks-present, I recommend:
Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis. Such a great, imaginative picture book that encourages children to think beyond the actual object. What many things could a stick be? A giant's toothpick? A leash for a dog? A hallway to a secret room?
Now, I'm not big on product promotion, but here's one exciting product that I discovered this past spring that led to many fun hours over the summer: stick-lets - bendable silicon pieces that help to connect sticks together. They were created by a woman in the US who wanted to encourage urban children to create memorable experiences in the outdoors - so that they ultimately have an appreciation and love for the natural world. -- exactly what we're trying to do here at Nature Connect! Her thesis was entitled "Natural Imagination: Reconnecting Children with Nature."
Here are some photos of my children and nephew enjoying stick-let building a fort out of willow sticks this past summer:
Here they are, quite happy in their willow home:
So much happened that day: negotiation, problem solving, using language, brainstorming, working with tools, creating together. Here's a short video of some of the conversation that happened around survival ideas (how to make something - a slingshot/arrow combo?? - that they could use to hunt deer... so that they could live in this fort full-time and still provide some kind of sustenance for themselves...).
So, to recap, wrapping up a bunch of sticks for Christmas will not feel like a lump of coal for your kids - especially if some other loose parts (rope, wire, stick-lets, etc.) are included. It may be a bit unconventional in terms of gifts, but give them some time to let their imaginations run wild... it's amazing what can come from sticks + imagination!
Hammers, Huge Swings, and the Freedom to Play