Note: if you are any of the following, you’ll want to skip today’s post:
a) a human child
b) someone who doesn’t enjoy human children
c) someone who’s in a stage of life where what human children enjoy isn’t particularly relevant.
You’re dismissed! See you next time.
Everyone else, come celebrate with me the simplicity of playing out in nature with a child…and a stick.
Yes, a stick. No, not to throw–that’s dogs, people, not kids. (Unless you’re talking bridges and streams, in which case you’re playing Poohsticks, and don’t let me stop you!)
When I was a kid, my favorite solo game (when my older sisters refused to play with me) was Stick Dolls. Take a stick. Dress it up in leaves and flowers, using grass for a sash. Name it.* Game on.
*Often flower names like Lily or Violet–but I definitely had a long-lived pair named Beth and Roger.
Fast-forward 40 years to now, when I am Very Much Not a Kid. My own are grown, but not (yet, if ever) in grandkid-production mode. So of course I’d forgotten all about Stick People…till I got myself a Little Sister.
Well, technically, she’s my “mentee” and I’m her “mentor,” through a program we have here on our too-small-for-official-Big-Brothers/Sisters-organizations island. But it’s the same thing. We meet once a week and hang out, cook, do crafts, and PLAY.
Guess what our favorite game is?
Guess what my heart was doing the first time I taught my little girl about Stick People?
Yeah. It was SWEET. That was two and a half years ago. Rose Stick has gone through a few iterations, and developed a family: little sis Daisy, big brother Bill, and parents Rainjewel and Bob. (My lil’ girl saves her creativity for the gals, it seems.) But Rose is very much herself. Some days all she does is forage for tiny food to serve on bits of bark or seashell. Other days she chases bad guys who try to kidnap her sister.
But the whole time, Rose Stick is helping me teach my little girl about nature. Dandelion hat? Absolutely–dandelions are an invasive weed. Calypso orchid hat? Nope–that’s RARE.
And Rose’s bedding? Moss and lichen are only OK to use if they’ve been kicked loose by someone else’s feet; no picking. They’re slow growers, vital to the ecoweb.
Anyway, that’s it–this post is just me sharing my joy at rediscovering my inner Flower Child. And wondering…anyone else play like this? Or see their kids do so? Please share a story!