Sticks for fun and development
For years, playing with sticks has been discouraged by many schools and play centres. Fear of children being hurt during stick play has been the concern. Nature Play Queensland program manager Hyahno Moser said play acting with sticks allowed children to discover and to invent.
"In the hand of a child, it transforms into any toy of their imagination or it stimulates creativity as a tool," Mr Moser said.
"Children of all ages use sticks for drawing in the dirt, as wands or as light sabres, as fishing poles, as music makers, as cricket bats, as a hobby horse, to build cubby houses, as a hiking pole or to toast marshmallows. We have seen some alarming backslides in children's health, fitness and cognitive development these past decades." (when stick play has been discouraged)
Psychologist Dr Rachael Sharman said constantly hemming in children was thwarting their imagination and creative development.
BNWPS has extensive grounds and encourages play using natural materials. We are very fortunate to have a forest of eucalypt trees, which naturally shed a supply of sticks for children to play and build with. We source additional sticks and natural materials such a bush offcuts, bark and rock for children to enjoy. Children spend recess and lunchtime constructing cubbies or using these materials in imaginative games and play activities. This supports collaborative learning, language development, reinforces school values of creativity, respect and connectedness. All children are made aware of a set of expectations to guide the safe use of sticks and natural materials in the playground.