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Stick Man Small World Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers

We love the Julia Donaldson classic “Stick Man” and it’s a perfect book to read in the run-up to Christmas since Father Christmas makes an appearance. I also love the book as one of the things I am passionate about with young children is getting them outside and connecting with nature. There are lots of opportunities to discuss the changing seasons in Stick Man as well as lots of ideas for outdoor play because of all the things that Stick Man is used for when people think he’s just a stick. Use them as arms for snowmen, playing pooh sticks and making flags for sandcastles to name just a few ideas. My girls love Stick Man so I made them a Stick Man small world in our tuff spot.

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson inspired Tuff Spot for Kids showing 4 seasons to explore and play

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson

We have included links to the materials and book we have used for this Small World Activity for kids. If you purchase via the links we may earn a small commission.

Join us for Storybook Advent this year where Stick Man by Julia Donaldson is one of our featured books. We love this book as we said above and have included it in our Christmas book selection for many years.

Materials Needed for our Stick Man Small World Invitation to Play

Tuff Spot

Sticks, Pine Cones and Leaves from a Nature Walk

Seasonal Nature Finds for example – shells, pebbles, flowers, acorns, conkers etc…

White packaging material or shredded paper

Green play scarves or other green fabric

Toy animals and creatures for the different seasons

Yellow Play Dough

Blue Play Scarf or other blue fabric

Setting up your Invitation to Play Inspired by Stick Man

The first thing to do is go on a walk to collect sticks, pine cones and leaves for making a Stick Man and also for using in the small world. My children love collecting nature on our walks. We already had a large collection of conkers, acorns and pinecones as well as shells and pebbles from the summer.

Once back from our walk I made a Stick Man using some sticks that I held together with some wool by wrapping it over and under. Older children can help with this part as my 5 year old did.

DIY Stick Man for use in a tuff spot invitation to play inspired by the Julia Donaldson Book

Once you have your stick man it’s time to start setting up your small world. I used our tuff spot but if you don’t have one you could use an underbed plastic storage container or a tray.

As Stick Man shows seasons changing, I decided to divide my tuff spot into 4 areas or seasons.

4 seasons tuff spot inspired by Stick Man by Julia Donaldson

Autumn – I used leaves, sticks, conkers and added a couple of wooden woodland creatures.

Winter – I used some white packaging material that we had in but if I didn’t I would have made some snow dough. I also added a child safe mirror tile as an ice pond, a Father Christmas and a snowman toy.

Spring – I used a green play scarf for grass but other ideas are green play dough or green felt. I added some farm animals, flowers and trees.

Summer – I made a beach scene using some yellow homemade play dough and a blue play scarf that represented the sea and also a river with a bridge. I also added some shells and pebbles.

Why not check out some of our Book Themed Sensory Bins to encourage your toddler and preschooler with reading as well!

Ideas for Playing with The Stick Man Inspired Tuff Spot

It’s a good idea to read Stick Man before introducing your children to the small world then you can use the scene to act out parts of the book. This is a good activity for storytelling and comprehension for older children.

Toddlers playing in a tuff spot Stick Man Inspired Invitation to Play

For toddlers like my youngest, the best way to play with the small world is to let them play with it however they like. My toddler was drawn straight to the mirror tile before moving on to squashing the “snow”. She also enjoyed playing with the yellow play dough.

Small World Tuff Spot Inspired by Stick Man with Kids playing in it

My 5 year old loved this small world too. She enjoys play dough anyway but she also enjoys imaginative play. She used our Stick Man and the other animals to act out bit of the story as well as to make up stories of her own.

Stick Man Small World Play contained in a Tuff Spot ideal for Preschool Classes or at home

Overall, my two girls (aged 5 and 2) love this small world for different reasons. My youngest enjoyed the sensory elements and my eldest the possibilities for imaginative play.

Claire blogs at The Ladybird Adventures.

A blog where she shares her passion for getting young kids outside as well as sharing seasonal inspiration for creative and played based learning for young children.

Follow her on Instagram and Facebook for more ideas for your kids.

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More Stick Man Inspired Activities and Crafts for Kids

STEM Activity for Preschoolers to build number inspired by the Stick Man by Julia Donaldson
Simple Stick Man Craft for Kids to Make after Reading the book by Julia Donaldson

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Stick Man Number STEM Activity to build your own numbers

Stick Man Salt Dough Craft for Kids

Why not Pin this Stick Man Activity for Preschoolers to Come back to Later

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson inspired Tuff Spot for Kids showing 4 seasons to explore and play

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