It’s official – the stick is this summer’s must-have item. With the power to unleash every child’s imagination, the humble stick can be transformed into a wand, a way marker, a sword or a wild animal. Sticks are also essential tools for trying many of the ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ activities.
Research commissioned for the National Trust revealed that over 82% of parents in the South West felt that the stick is the perfect catalyst for inspiring their children’s creative urges. In this region, children today spend about half the time playing outdoors that their parents did (4.4 hours/week vs. 7.7 hours/week). This is on par with the national findings, despite the South West being thought of as a particularly outdoorsy place to live.
This summer the National Trust hopes to inspire kids all over the South West to get outdoors, find their perfect stick and start an adventure in nature. Sticks are free, easy to find and offer adventures right on your doorstep. You could head to the local park, a National Trust woodland or simply your own back garden.
Here are seven icky sticky ‘50 things’ adventure ideas across the South West for a nature-fuelled day out:
1. Make a home for a wild animal
Holiday Havoc, 16, 17 & 18 August, 11am-4pm
Sticks are perfect for making bug houses, so why not come and learn how to make a little home for your favourite creepy crawlies? The fun happens in our garden, where you’ll make your own bug house to take home with you.
Price: £2 (normal admission charges apply)
For more information, please call 01884 254665
2. Play pooh sticks
Eye Bridge, Kingston Lacy, Dorset
There’s no simpler pleasure than a good old fashioned game of Pooh Sticks. Your first task is to find a winning stick. Will it be big, small, thick or thin? Once you’ve chosen suitably head to Eye Bridge to drop your sticks into the Stour River and see who wins! Afterwards you can enjoy a walk upstream through unspoilt countryside, collecting more sticks to race once you get back to Eye Bridge car park.
For more information, please call 01202 883402
3. Build a den
Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire
Wild Wednesdays, 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 August, 10am-4pm
Have you always wished you could build a super-secret den to hide away from the grownups? Then you’ll need to gather a lot of sticks! Join in with Wild Wednesdays at Woodchester Park for a day of outdoor fun and den building – you’ll learn how to make a cosy shelter out of materials found on the woodland floor, as well as creating mud-kitchen masterpieces, going on a treasure hunt and more.
Booking essential. Price: £10 Full day, £5 half day
For more information and to book please call 01452 814 213
Watch the YouTube video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tgx4i6Yiuc
4. Fly a kite
Kite making workshop, 26 & 27 July, various times
Head to the Sawmill to join master kite maker, Nick to craft a fine soaring, exploring flying machine (all materials, including sticks, to build your creation are included) and then head off around the estate – up, up and away!
Booking essential. Price: £5 per kite (normal admission charges apply)
For more information and to book please call 0844 249 1895
5. Create some wild art
Summer of play, Trengwainton Garden, Cornwall, 25 July-1 September, 10.30am–5 pm
There’s a whole summer of play at Trengwainton with activities every day until the end of August – from welly wanging to wildlife spotting. Why not unleash your imagination and create some wild art using sticks, leaves and other natural materials found around the garden?
Normal admission charges apply
For more information, please call 01736 363148
Watch the YouTube video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYze-4vk60c
6. Cook on an open fire
Family woodland survival day, Leigh Woods, Bristol, 26 & 27 July 10.30am–3pm
What better use for sticks than lighting a fire and then toasting some marshmallows? Join the Leigh Woods team for a fun packed day of stick-y activities that all the family can enjoy, including fire-lighting, cooking on an open fire and den building.
Booking essential. Price: Adult £14, Child £12
For more information and to book please call 08442491895
Watch the YouTube video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KuXeWm3Ueg
7. Go on a walk barefoot
Barefoot Festival, 21 August, 10am–4pm
Feel the grass between your toes as you join in with the barefoot festivities at Godolphin. Enjoy a feast of textures for the feet on the specially-made barefoot trail of wood, mud, stone, slate and fabric, and have a go at yoga, Tai Chi, arts and crafts all with your socks off. Afterwards why not try creating your very own barefoot walkway made of sticks and leaves?
Normal admission charges apply
For more information, please call 01736 763194