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Building Activity for Kids
- Make a bundle of sticks: Gather enough long sticks (i.e. 2-3 feet) to inspire building (~20+ sticks). Bundle the sticks with rope or twine. Remember, kids can always gather more sticks outside!
- Add a note and hide the sticks: Attach a note. Ours read, “Dear explorers, Enjoy these sticks. Use them to build [note torn off]" It worked like a charm!
- ”Discover” the sticks: Once you are walking with the kids, say, “Hey! What’s in those bushes/behind that tree/etc?” Then, walk over and allow them to “discover” the hidden sticks. Read the note (or have kids read if they can) and ask them, “Who do you think left these sticks for us?” and “What do you think they wanted us to build with them?” Then, let the playing, imagining and discussing begin.
- Guide and support: Bear in mind, your job is to support, not to lead. Some kids may dive right into building and imagining. If not, let them play with the sticks for a while. The chance to mess around with new materials makes for great making. After a while, remind them about the note and the building. For example, ask, “What do you think we should build?” Once kids start making something, support them at points of frustration or stagnation by asking questions and making suggestions. Good makers may change their design and vision multiple times, so follow even a meandering lead. If you have a group, we suggest you let kids play, then call everyone together to share ideas and agree on one idea to try to build first. Assure kids who have other ideas that you can build many different things. If two camps emerge, suggest that the kids split up the sticks and make teams to build two different things.
- Celebrate and keep on building: Celebrate whatever kids build by playing with it, looking at it, taking a photo to share with grandpa, and, ideally, listening to them describe it. Be sure to praise their effort too. If they seem to have energy, encourage them to start over or build something new. We hope they realize that this activity can be fun to do again and again.
Why is this activity great for kids?
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