1. Musical Instruments. We had some sticks/branches cut for a project of my husband's. My toddler picked them up and discovered the great sounds they make when clicked together. Another day, he discovered the great sounds they make on an upside down bucket. Sticks are awesome instruments!
2. Painting. Put down the paintbrush and use a stick instead, or go with bark. Dipping bark in paint and "stamping" is also fun and interesting. (For other cool paintbrush alternatives, check out No Paintbrushes Allowed over at the Nurture Store).
3. Tic-Tac-Toe Board. My husband and I debate what the perfect X's and O's are for a board made from sticks: I say painted rocks. He says rocks and sticks. Either way, a perfect game from natural elements.
4. Stick Men/Women. Of course! Multiple Mummy made some great ones, so check them out!
5. Hangman. It's way more fun to place this classic game outside. All you need are sticks, a rock and sidewalk chalk. (In our case, we were out of sidewalk chalk, but I found a rock that wrote on the sidewalk). Easy and fun.
6. Trees for a DYI Train Table. My husband built our train-loving toddler a train table out of materials leftover from our patio-building project. It was a fraction of the cost of buying one (and is much cooler). He's still working on it, but here's his trees made from sticks and styrofoam balls.
7. Building. Bridges, houses, tents, etc. What can be built depends on the sticks you have and the skill, but sticks make awesome building materials.
8. Art. I love these woven art pieces that utilize sticks, yarn, ribbon and other elements.The ARTree, a local community arts center, was making them at our Earth Arbor Day event last Saturday.
9. Sailboat Mast. Or just as a fun floating object. You need rather straight sticks for this, but sticks would be a cool alternative to straws when making egg or milk carton sailboats. In general, kids love playing with sticks in water because they float. If you have a river/creek nearby, I've found that just tossing a stick in the water and watching it ride the tide provides simple enjoyment. (Would love to try this sailboat made from pine bark, a stick and a leaf).
10. Roasting marshmallows. (Or hotdogs or whatever else is your fancy over a campfire -- real or pretend!) You could put pretend hot dogs (made from playdoh) over your pretend fire. This would be a great additional element to an indoor camping featured on Lasso the Moon recently.
(Bonus stick use for those of you with talented dogs: Dog Toy for playing fetch, of course!)
If you loved this list, head over to Raise a Boy for her list of 10 things you can do with rocks!
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