More Than Just a Stick!

More Than Just a Stick!
December 7, 2020 David Todd

November 2020
Posted by Molly and Jasmine

Sticks can be so much more than just sticks. Let a child explore a forest for a few minutes, and they are certain to find the perfect stick!

student at The Nature School at Kortright Centre proudly holds up a stick

At The Nature School, we encourage playing with sticks, and have conversations with students about how we can use sticks safely: “What size stick is best? How can we walk with a stick in a good way? What else can our sticks become?”

Watch any child in the forest for an hour, and that stick is destined to become A LOT. They will turn it into a walking device, a microphone, a measuring tool, a treasure, a horse, a broomstick — and, of course, a sword or weapon.

It’s tempting to snatch the stick away immediately if a child makes it a sword. But if we do, we don’t get to see what else that stick might become, like a wand, or a tool for learning math!

Recently, our Nature School played with math sticks. The preschool students used the sticks to match colours and create shapes. The primary students created a game where the goal was to make a square.

students from The Nature School at Kortright Centre play a math game using sticks to create squares containing pine cones and other forest objects

Once a square was completed, a natural object (pine cone or pine needles) was placed in the centre to show who had created the square! A simple game with so many math concepts — including geometry, number sense, patterns, and more!

geometric shape created with sticks by students from The Nature School at Kortright Centre

Students could also use the math sticks to create 3-D shapes.

Sticks have their place in a child’s world; they are the ultimate, ever-changing toy. Adults often want to shout “Put down that stick!” But if we give kids the proper techniques to safely play with a stick, their imaginations will run wild, and their learning will be all the better for it!