Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Stick

In my workshops on Tinkering we look at the five most popular toys of all time.  According to an article on Teacher Tom's blog the stick is number 1. As this video shows the stick is so diverse in it's uses.  Gever Tulley started the Tinkering School after hearing comments about sticks.   These words were his inspiration to think about creating opportunities for children to tinker with their own ideas.  We may have heard these words or even used them ourselves:
"Is that a stick. You know the rules about playing with sticks" said a parent to a child.
Sticks create many possibilities for using your imagination and to create wonderful conversations.  I discussed this in another post on the ELP Blog about my grandchildren and their use of and questions about sticks.  To view follow this link:
Sticks are loose parts at their very best.
This is a wonderful rap to the power of the stick - to its ability to open up imaginative play, create problems in building and encourage meaningful and engaging learning.
I was asked by a teacher, " I am looking for help in what the relationship  is between loose parts/open-ended materials and creativity?"
My short reply was, the link between loose parts and creativity is the ability to use the loose parts in many ways unlike closed resources that have only one way of being able to be used.  It is divergent thinking that is being nurtured through loose part play."
Here is a link to an excerpt from Contemporary Perspective on Play in Early Childhood Education Olivia Saracho and Bernard Spodek https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4LUb60TQL9seGY3YXJ0SUxzNWs/view?usp=sharing

Nathan Mikaere-Wallis also talks about divergent thinking in this excerpt from a radio interview he had on Radio NZ Talkback.  To hear the whole interview go to: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2595176/what-3-to-7-year-olds-need-to-learn-nathan-mikaere-wallis
Nathan said, "Intelligence is really problems solving at its heart and problem solving is hugely enhanced by creativity."
So that brings me back to the stick.  The stick is a divergent rather than convergent (only has one purpose) resource.  The humble stick allows children to dream and be creative and by doing this opens up the possibilities for children to tinker with their own ideas.


  1. Agreed...There is much satisfaction to be had in so many ways with The Stick.

    1. Kia ora thanks for the comment. It is amazing what children can create when left to their own wild imaginations.