This blog is in danger of turning into a Donaldson/Scheffler fan page, but there's a good reason for that! Their partnership has produced some of the most popular and iconic children's books of the last few decades. We absolutely love Stick Man, which you can hear being read by Axel Scheffler here.
It's a great story for learning about the changing seasons. Stick Man goes out for a jog in spring, in time to be added to a swan's nest. He washes up on a beach in summer, where he is put to use as the mast for a sandcastle flag. As autumn draws in he's used for a variety of outdoor games. By winter he's exhausted and in danger or being swallowed up by the snow, before finding himself in a fire grate. Of course the story is hugely popular at Christmas time, as Stick Man gets to meet Santa!
While out and about exploring, children will naturally start to pick up objects such as sticks and find imaginative games to play with them. To keep them safe, encourage them to hold a stick downwards. If they want to move a long stick, show them how to drag it, with their thumb over then end. It's important to be mindful of others around, and not to run with a stick. If they practise this with your supervision they are learning how to take risks in a managed way, as well as developing their spatial awareness and hand-eye coordination.
Have a go at building a den for a toy by propping sticks up against a log or tree trunk. Try drawing in the mud with your stick, or using it as a potion stirrer. Your child's imagination will soon begin to outstrip yours, and you'll be on your way to the moon!
If you want to get creative at home, use odds and ends of paper, fabric, wool, or whatever you have to hand to make your stick family friends. What adventures will they have? The possibilities really are endless, and you've hardly spent a thing.
We absolutely love Ethan, Liliana and Emily's creations!
A Memory Game
We played the classic 'Kim's Game' with objects from the Stick Man story, something you could try doing with family or friends over video call using any household items. Put six or seven things on a tray (or fewer for younger children). Everyone has a minute to memorise them, then cover with a tea towel and take one away. Who can see what's missing?
Stanley's Stick by John Hegley and Neal Layton is another lovely story about the possibilities of a stick.
Is it a rocket, a fishing rod, or a musical instrument. Where will your little one's imagination go?