Sticks! The Original Wooden Toy.

Todd and I are admirers of wooden toys, so it’s only natural that we let our boys play with sticks. I don’t believe that sticks are caca (as I often hear parents at the park say as they swat their child’s hand away from the stick that they are attempting to grasp) and I’m not really that worried about eyeballs getting poked out, as one mother suggested I should be a few weeks ago at the very same park. Of course I understand and appreciate that sticks pose a certain risk of injury while playing (everyone has a horror story to share), but so do other toys. Owen has had his finger crushed by a boxed remote control car that I couldn’t turn off and Colin nearly choked on a Matchbox Car tire several years ago. Kids fall off scooters. They throw sand. They trip while playing tag. They break their arm while playing house (as I did in Kindergarten). They crash riding toys. They slam their fingers in jack-in-the-box lids. They bonk heads while wrestling. Playing is risky business! But it’s worth it.

Playing with sticks not only provides a child with a tactile connection to Nature, but sharpens fine and gross motor skills and provides them with the opportunity to use critical thinking and problem solving skills. When Colin and Owen are building out in the forest, they do so with a goal in mind. Sometimes I might not understand their “game,” but they play with intention. Additionally, lifting logs, pulling branches, and climbing trees builds physical strength and confidence.

Through playing with sticks, Colin and Owen have learned much about self-control and following rules. They understand that they need to look completely around them before swinging a stick or breaking a branch. They know that under no circumstance should a stick touch another person (or living creature). They remember that they are not to dismantle a fort while another person is inside of it. These things were taught warmly and firmly, and occasionally reinforced from experience (which really is the best way to learn).

Sticks can be anything.

Rakes.

Passengers.

Bouncers.

Or, ponies.

While playing outside in the woods this morning, Hudson began laughing hilariously. I turned to see what was so funny, and found him watching and imitating the dog!

Owen, who likes being known as the silly one, couldn’t let Hudson get all of the attention. “Mommy, look at me!” he giggled.

Boys, *eye roll,* geesh!

* * *

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17 thoughts on “Sticks! The Original Wooden Toy.

  1. Whew, after my hurricane recovery I have finally caught up with all the blogs I have missed. Great Ideas in here to use with my niece and nephews. I can’t wait to make slime, and as always an opportunity for puddle jumping will never pass me by!!

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  4. I agree with you, kids are DRAWN to sticks. It’s an attraction that I can’t stop so I try to make it as safe as possible. To date, no one has ever been injured playing with sticks. Sticks never seem to lose their appeal as well. Thanks for the article, cute pics at the end 🙂

  5. You are the first person that says sticks are ok to play with since i had my son. Thank you. I always felt weird to take it away from him because other parents do so.
    You made me realize to follow my “common sense” and intuition to be my son’s mom.
    Yes playing is a risky business.
    Thanks for all the good stuff to share.

  6. As a mom to three boys who would love to get more outdoor time than they do, I have to say, I agree with everything you said! We have 6 kids and live in an apartment with no yard. The boys especially need time outside, connecting in a real way with the world around them. When they do get time outside, I let them play with just about everything. They love to touch the ground, the grass, the trees, the sticks! They build with them, run with them (the horror!), turn them into horsies and houses. Thanks for “sticking” up for us crazy moms who let our kids play with sticks.

  7. Great article, both my little boy and little girl love playing with sticks. I will remember this the next time were are at the park. I usually let them play with sticks, but once in a while I have to say no to playing with sticks. The park we often go to is also pretty popular with dog owners and lets just say some are not that great at picking up after their dogs. There are also some moms that frown upon the kids playing with sticks, so stick playing is left when we are with friends or on our own. I want to recommend two children’s book that my kids love “Not a box” and “Not a stick”

  8. Oh my. I haven’t been interrogated by the Stick Police yet. Sticks are coveted property around her. I have a stick hoarder who hides “the good sticks” from his brother and sister.

  9. Didn’t realize sticks were considered so bad. Parents can be so overly protective. Reminds me of the mother overheard at the playground telling her kid not to run.

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  12. When I was a kid, I would have so much fun with my brother playing in the woods. It was an adventure scouting among the 40+ acres of trees and meadows. We would gather sticks & rocks or whatever else to use as we saw fit to use or play with. Fun days as a kid in the woods.

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