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