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If your kids are spending too much time on their screens during our current lockdown, here’s a fun way to get them out in the backyard for some healthy, happy fun in the fresh air. All they need is their imagination . . . and a stick!

Inducted into New York’s National Toy Hall of Fame in 2008, the humble stick has been entertaining children for generations with endless play possibilities.

Narelle and Tom Debenham, from Nature Play Every Day, share their 50 favourite activities to do with fallen sticks you can find lying around the backyard.    

1.     Construct a cubby
2.     Pretend it’s a magic wand
3.     Throw it to your dog
4.     Dig gently in the soil for bugs
5.     Build a bird’s nest
6.     Play pick-up sticks
7.     Lay out a maze to walk through on the grass
8.     Create a number using sticks
9.     Replicate a life-size model of your body
10.  Run a relay race and pass the baton
11.  Make a fairy house
12.  Tie a weaving frame or god’s eye using wool
13.  Erect a tepee
14.  Measure the depth of puddles
15.  Craft a bow and arrow
16.  Jump over stick hurdles
17.  Drop ‘Poohsticks’ from a bridge into the water
18.  Bend under a stick and do the limbo
19.  Place between your knees and have a horse race
20.  Tie on some string and use as a fishing rod
21.  Decorate as a walking pole
22.  Lash together a floating raft
23.  Wrap with wool to make a rainbow serpent
24.  Draw a picture in the dirt to tell a story
25.  Practise writing your name in the sand
26.  Slot gumnuts on the end to make drumsticks
27.  Arrange in a grid to play noughts and crosses
28.  Sing into a pretend microphone
29.  Use to make the frame of a kite, adding string and paper
30.  Cast magic spells on your toys with your ‘wand’
31.  Throw it as far as you can
32.  Design and create a family of stick people
33.  Whittle a prong to toast marshmallows
34.  Hang as wind chimes
35.  Fashion two knitting needles and knit a scarf
36.  Mix mud pies
37.  Splint a leg or arm to practise first-aid
38.  Scratch your back
39.  Tap a ball and play hockey
40.  Balance on your head while you walk
41.  Shape a log cabin
42.  Trace the outline of your shadow
43.  Place outdoors in a water dish for bees to land on
44.  Pass from person to person between knees
45.  Tell the time or orienteer using a stick sundial
46.  Make your favourite critter or creature
47.  Paint using different shapes and sizes as brushes
48.  Collect 10 and arrange from shortest to tallest
49.  Contour ‘fences’ for your farm animals or ‘roads’ for your cars
50.  Benefit our insects by constructing a ‘bug hotel’

Once you have finished playing with your sticks, put them back where you found them to help create a habitat for our precious wildlife.

There’s never been a better time to get outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, even if it’s just in your backyard or on a walk around the block. Sign up for backyard nature play every day at

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