Stick Man Storytelling is a fun outdoor activity that will help children to get enthusiastic about literacy and help them to develop their own imaginative and communication skills by telling their own Stick Man story. There are lots of other benefits to this activity including the chance to get outdoors and moving about for physical development and working with others to help with personal, social and emotional development. This activity can be easily adapted for a variety of age groups.
The Stick Man story by Julia Donaldson has become a firm favourite with children and parents alike, telling the story of how the Stick Man undertakes a courageous journey to get back to his Stick Lady Love, their children and their family tree. This fun activity it a great way to bring the story to life in the great outdoors or can be used as a stand alone activity to spark children’s imagination.
The activity is easy to set up in an outdoor area with some trees where children can collect their own sticks as well as a range of other natural materials. They will first need to find a stick that they can turn into a stick man by sticking on some wiggly eyes with PVA glue. Whilst the glue has time to dry, the children can hunt for a selection of natural objects to help with their storytelling. Leaves can become parachutes, acorns can become mice or pine cones could become hedgehogs, the only limit is the children’s imagination.
Top tip: Children can also be encouraged to move around and use their natural surroundings as part of their Stick Man storytelling e.g. they can choose which tree they would like their Stick Man to live in. Laying a tarpaulin or ground sheet on the ground for children to sit whilst creating their stories, will allow them to set out the natural objects in a sequence to create a beginning, middle and end for their stories.
Children can be encouraged to retell the popular Stick Man story or create their own Stick Man stories to tell to an adult or a friend. The following questions may help the children to develop their stories further:
1. Where does your story take place? where does your Stick Man live?
2. What is your Stick Man like? Can you describe him?
3. How did this happen?
4. What happened in the end?
5. What do you think Stick Man will do next?
Children can also encouraged to ask questions to each other and describe what they liked best about their friends story. What else would they like to know about their friends Stick Man story?
1. Use the natural resources collected and the Stick Men that children have made to create a Stick Man corner indoors for imaginative play.
2. Read the story of the Stick Man and look at the pictures. Can the children tell from Stick Man’s face how he is feeling? Can they make a face similar to Stick Mans? Do the children ever feel like Stick Man? What can they do to make themselves feel better?
3. Can the children use a ruler to measure their Stick Men/ Whose Stick Man is the longest? Can they put them into size order?
4. Play pooh sticks! Children can investigate whether their Stick Men float. Which other materials float and sink
5. Children can create their own Stick Man art using the natural resources collected.
6. Explore and read other books by Julia Donaldson including the Gruffalo and Superworm. Are their any similarities? Look at and say the different rhyming words in the books. Can children discuss which stories they like best and why? Can they make their own rhymes? Use the Gruffalo story sack for children to further develop their story telling skills.
7. Can the children make their own simple Stick Man story book with drawings and writing?
EYFS learning goals supported by Stick Man storytelling activities:
ELG01 Communication and language development: listening and attention: children listen attentively to adults reading the Stick Man story and other children telling their stories. They respond to stories by making comments and asking questions.
ELG02 Communication and language development: speaking: children can express themselves using past, present and future forms accurately. They can develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.
EL04 Physical development: moving and handling: children are active in exploring the outdoor environment and finding natural resources. They move confidently, negotiating space and practicing control and co ordination in bending and stretching to collect natural materials.
ELG 06 Personal, social and emotional development: self-confidence and self-awareness : Children are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about ideas for a story and the resources needed.
ELG07 Personal, social and emotional development: managing feelings and behaviour: managing feelings and behaviour : Children talk about how they and others show feelings and how they can adjust their behaviour in different circumstances (ext. idea 2).
ELG 08 Personal, social and emotional development: making relationships: children play co operatively working in pairs or small groups to collect objects and taking turns telling and listening to stories.
ELG10 Literacy: Writing: children can write their own simple Stick Man stories (ext. idea 7)
ELG 12 Mathematics: Shape, space and measures: children can measure and sort sticks into size order (ext. idea 3).
ELG14 Understanding of the World: The World: Children can talk about features of their own immediate environment incorporating aspects of the outdoor area into their stories. Children can experiment and discover differences and similarities between different materials (ext. idea 4).
ELG16 Expressive arts and design: exploring and using media and materials (ext. ideas 5): children use a variety of natural materials to experiment with colour, design, texture, form and function.
ELG17 Expressive arts and design: being imaginative: children represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through their Stick Man stories.
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