Play with Sticks!!!

 My friend's, Sarah, two son's engaged in a stick match! My favorite parts are their smiles! 

My friend's, Sarah, two son's engaged in a stick match! My favorite parts are their smiles! 

Let's take a break from field hockey sticks to talk about another great way to play with sticks.

ACTUAL STICKS!

The no frills, no lights, constantly accessible and FREE- sticks!

Recently I saw a video of my friend Sarah's children playing with some sticks in the woods. (Boys + sticks + woods = magic) Her son, right around 2, was swinging a stick around in the air with his older brothers, "Hi-YAH!" I must have watched the video about a dozen times and even called over my husband and shared it with him. He was very patient with me while I shared all the cool things I noticed about the video. It was a total nerd out moment. (Note: "Nerd out" is a phrase I picked up from my friend Amanda, she and her husband use it to describe the action of enjoying your passion!)

In Sarah's video I saw:

- curiosity

- boundaries

- connection to nature

- respect

- communication

- flexibility

- resourcefulness

- trust

- consent

- bravery

The list could go on, but in the interest of the message I will stop myself. Bottom line- sticks are fabulous. And teaching children to play with sticks- even more fabulous!

If you find yourself thinking "Holy smokes! No way, that's not for me- we don't do sticks and dirt." I beg you to read on, with an open mind. I would love to help soften an uncomfortable topic that may lead to a strong and new connection!

Going outside and playing with sticks alongside your child will create so many rich opportunities. It will create a space of curiosity and inquisitiveness that could lead to powerful conversations between you both. It may open up the discussion of litter and why we don't put trash in the woods. (mindfulness) It may create a platform to talk about how to say "No, I don't like that" and then reinforce how to respect another persons request. (consent) It may just be a much needed sensory experience that allows someone who is frustrated to recenter and calm down, this is true of you or your youth! (body controlempathy

When we quiet the "what ifs" of controlled risk taking and open ourselves up to the endless possibilities of incorporating this into our child's play, we are opening up so many new pathways in our children's brains that will benefit them once they are back indoors, like for instance in a classroom. 

If you're not a stick player now- go slow, have patience with yourself and your child. It's a difficult task to change the gut feelings of "NO, Put down the stick!" to "Sure, enjoy playing with the sticks!" Start in a small controlled environment, like bringing a stick inside. Then transition to playing in your backyard with sticks and finally graduating to an open air space, like the James River Parks System!

Interested in learning more ways to play and connect? Reach out and schedule a consultation! I would love to talk about more benefits of stick play and how to incorporate it with your children!

 Shhh...child at work.

Shhh...child at work.

"The more we teach our kids that nature is dangerous, creativity is out of bounds and physicality is not to be tolerated, the more I worry for our society." - Andrea Bonior, Ph.D. from her article Why Sticks are Good for Kids

**Thank you to Sarah for allowing me to feature her children! She is an amazing mom of 4 boys and busy while navigating the homeschooling process! Check out her blog for more amazing stories and photos!**