Trees are great fun to explore with children as they are so wonderfully tactile and engaging. We love going on woodland walks to collect fallen twigs, branches, sticks and leaves for crafts and activities.
Making stick people and woodland figures is a fun and easy activity for children of ages where you can use any sticks and branches you find to create fun and interesting characters.
You can easily bring sticks and branches to life by simply giving them faces and different expressions using pens, paint or by making them clothes using natural found materials or scraps of fabric of paper. Children will love creating and decorating their own stick people and role playing with them afterwards. It’s also a a great opportunity to talk about emotions with children of all ages.
The most wonderful thing about children is their imagination, their ability to turn the everyday into the fantastical. The stories they tell and people they play in their own little worlds of whimsy. Role play is something children naturally do and love at all ages. Not only is it a fun and enjoyable activity but it’s also an important part of their emotional, mental and physical development.
By role playing they are figuring how the world works, trying out new ideas and mimicking the behaviour and actions of the adults around them. It gives them the opportunity to develop their language, fine motor skills, personality and confidence
To make a simple character for role playing and games all you need is a stick or branch and some paint or marker pens. You can then have fun painting or drawing faces directly onto the sticks and giving them funny or interesting features.
Older children and adults can also remove the bark at one end of the stick or branch using an old vegetable peeler or sandpaper to reveal a smoother and lighter surface to paint and draw the faces onto
How about giving you figure hair? You could simply paint or draw the hair on or use old wool, string, ribbon or straps of fabric or shredded paper to create textured and layered hair. First cut the materials you are using into strips roughly the same length (or different lengths if you want wilder hair). You want enough strips/lengths to fold over the top of the stick to form the hair. Next cut a long strip to tie round the top of the stick and hair tying it all together.
You could also make your hair using found natural materials like grass, leaves, bark, thin twigs, seed cases and flowers. *But pretty please don’t pick any wildflowers, only collect ones you have grown yourself or fallen ones you find on the floor! You could either tie the materials on or use nontoxic glue to stick and collage them onto the stick.
The materials you use and the characters you make could be inspired by the places you visit. For example, you could use, seaweed, seashells and sea glass on the shore to create mermaids and pirates. Or you could create flower fairies and pixies in the garden or woodland elves and gnomes in the woods.
You can also use extra sticks, branches or leaves to give your figures arms and legs. Simply tie them to the main stick or branch using old wool, string or ribbon. Or how about giving you characters clothes using old scraps of fabric, paper, old socks, found natural materials or materials you can find around the house.
When you have finished making your characters and figures you can use them in pretend play and role play or as story props, puppets or decorations. You could even take them on nature walks, adventures and picnics, the possibilities are as endless as your imagination
And finally whilst you are finding the sticks and branches to make your woodland figures don’t forget to take time to explore and look at and talk about the trees they came from. It’s great opportunity to encourage children of all ages to enjoy nature and care about the environment. Trees are such an important and vital part of our ecosystem, they create oxygen, soak up carbon dioxide, prevent soil erosion, retain nutrients in the soil and provide food and shelter for wildlife. Thousands of different species depend on trees from birds, mammals and invertebrates to reptiles, fungi, mosses and lichens. Even when a tree dies it still plays a vital role in the ecosystem. The dead wood creates nitrogen for the soil and provides habitats for a variety of animals.
There are a lot more activities related to the great outdoors and Forest School on the site. Take a look.
There are also more activities around the web, have a look.
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