In today’s techy world where all kids want to do is watch TV, the iPad, play Minecraft ( on said iPad) or play on their parent’s phone, it can be hard to get kids out of the house and back in nature. As a child I remember climbing trees, making tea for my dolls in our tree house, riding bikes with our local neighbourhood gang and exploring the local streams, mangroves, beaches and parks. We were constantly outdoors; back in the day, as they say!
But times have changed and on top of that parents are too scared to let their kids run and play outside like we used to do. I remember I would go off for hours, bike riding and exploring and these were the days of no mobile phones, so my mum couldn’t call me. If she was worried, she would get in the car and drive the streets to find me but I think that only happened once. I don’t know why we have lost that carefree attitude to life but it has meant that parents feel safer having their kids indoors than outdoors.
Which is what brings me to this month’s “Toy of the month” Stick – lets, created to bring kids back to nature. The whole idea behind what started as creator Christina’s University thesis Natural Imagination: Reconnecting Children with Nature. She found that ” virtual distractions, busy family schedules, parental fears, and decreased outdoor education within rapidly growing urban areas, made it clear that children were not getting enough exposure to nature.”
Christina created 6 unique colourful shapes made from silicone which can be used to bend and mold to create a fort, teepee, den and more. What is more, they come in a neat drawstring pack and are super light weight and can be taken anywhere!
We were visiting friends up the coast over the weekend and I thought it would be the perfect place to test out and review Stick – lets. It had been a busy weekend and the kids were winding down watching TV after a day at the beach and markets. They were getting restless as they do and I suggested to try out the Stick-lets. They had seen them earlier in the weekend and wanted to have a try. Our friends had loads of bamboo in their garden handy so we went collecting and cutting to get us started with our construction.
We found that the bamboo was a little too thin for the Stick – lets but that if we wrapped them and around and twisted them, they held the structure. For some reason each time we went to build, we all wanted to build a teepee. We did try to build a fort but naturally it just seemed to turn into a teepee!
After helping to build the teepee, the kids went exploring for more sticks and then it was myself and my friend fixing up the teepee and adding more to it. We would have put a cover on it too but we ran out of time!
We felt in a way that we had overtaken the building of the teepee towards the end of the construction session. However, we were pretty happy with the final result and that was seeing our kids exploring nature and having fun outside. That was surely what the construction kit had aimed for.
Next time we play with it, I think I will do it in stages. We will look for sticks and collect those in one session. Then do another session of building the fort, teepee, den with the sticks. We had kids aged from 6- 9 years of age building the fort and I think if you left a group of 9-10 years, they would create a fort quite easily, of their own accord. With the younger ages, it was a nice family bonding session, where we all got involved in the construction, mummy’s and kids and we all had fun together building the teepee.
It is definitely a toy that will grow with your child and can be taken on holidays, to the forest, bush or backyard, so easily as the small cotton bag isn’t that heavy. The cotton bag can even be used as a fort flag once you have finished which is a fantastic idea!
So if you are stuck for a cool, unique, and clever present for kids 6- 10 years, then this is a great gift idea and one that will get the children away from technology and back into our beloved outdoors.
Toy of the Month: Stick – lets
Helps to teach kids: to explore the great outdoors, construction skills, team work, problem solving and thinking outside the square.
Great for: travelling, birthday & Christmas presents, family bonding sessions, budding architects or engineers, holiday fun.
Materials: Connectors: 100% Silicone, ROHS Compliant, Recyclable, Made in Taiwan. Packaging: 100% Recyclable Packaging, Made in the USA
Product details: designed in the USA and made in Taiwan from 100% Silicone which is recyclable and ROHS compliant. There are 18 silicone pieces included.
RRP: AUS $35.95 exclusive in Australia to Finlee and Me.
Finlee and Me are the best place in Australia to pick up your Stick- lets and they kindly gave them to us to test out.