Have you ever read the Julia Donaldson book: The Stick Man? It’s a lovely story which is sad at times, but has a happy ending. Stick Man gets taken away from his family by a dog that picks him up for a game. Before he can find his way back home he’s picked up time and again, until he finally finds a way to make it back to his stick family in time for Christmas day. Like many of Julia Donaldson’s books, it features Axel Schleffler’s wonderful illustrations that help bring the story to life.
The Forestry Commission has a number of Stick Man trails at their sites around the country. The trails involve various activities providing opportunities to have fun outdoors and to learn more about trees. As Forestry Commission Bloggers were invited along to try out the trail. In most forests the Stick Man trail will be available till the end of January, so there’s plenty of time for you to have a go yourselves.
We set off the waymarked trail through the woods. At the first activity point we had a go at building our own stick towers. The trail leaflet gives some construction advice and there’s a handy measure for you to measure your stick tower. As you can see we mostly used bigger sticks and our tower measured 49cm tall. We built ours together, but it would be easy to have a little friendly competition within your group.
As we walked further through the wood, we came across all sorts of information about the uses for wood and different types of trees. There were also a number of short poems about trees handing in the branches of various trees along the route.
At another stop we were encouraged to make ‘frames’ with our fingers and our arms to enclose a particular view. This was good fun and we chose a range of views from distant vistas, closeups of foliage and the sky through the tree canopy. Another fun idea was making our own picture using sticks. We used bare sticks to frame our picture, then used foliage, pine cones and stones to create our scene inside.
Every stick man needs a home and towards the end of the Stick Man trail, we set about making one that was fit for a Stick Man king. We used a combination of sticks and foliage to make it strong and cosy.
The Stick Man trail was a lot of fun and we learnt quite a lot about what wood is used for. Some of the things quite surprised me as I didn’t know that wood is used to make turpentine for instance. The Stick Man fun doesn’t have to finish when you leave the forest either. We also brought a few sticks home with us to have a go at making our very own Stick Man.