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
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.
Materials Needed for our Stick Man Small World Invitation to Play
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.