9 Awesome Ways For Hands On Learning Fun With Sticks

Check out these 9 awesome ways for hands on learning fun with sticks! Kids will love these activities for art, crafts, math, & more!

Hands on learning activities are fantastic ways to engage your kids.  When you incorporate hands on learning fun, your  kids are able to develop a variety of skills.  A super cool way to bring a bit of nature into your learning fun is to use sticks for hands on activities.

You will find that these hands on learning activities with sticks are fun and frugal.  Use as described or customize to best fit your family.  No matter how you use, these 9 activities with sticks will bring special moments to your learning time.

Why Use Sticks For Hands On Learning?

Sticks are readily available in most areas.  Most kids enjoy picking up and using sticks in some way.  With five boys, you can bet that sticks are common items in play and learning!

I love using sticks in our homeschool and family learning time.  Sticks are:

  • readily available-just head out into your yard or local park  (if you do not have access to any of these areas, substitute popsicle sticks!)
  • textured-great for sensory and kinesthetic learning
  • familiar yet different-we all know what sticks are but do we use in our everyday learning?
  • free!

I have fond memories of building a variety of structures and “art” projects with sticks during my childhood.  I lived in the middle of the Pine Barrens of South Jersey-trees were everywhere!  I love sharing stories with my boys of my youth and adventures in nature.  Using objects from nature are a great start to conversations from my past and our present.

9 Activities For Hands On Learning Fun With Sticks

Using sticks for math manipulatives is a fantastic way to add nature to hands on learning fun.
Smiley is all smiles after sorting sticks.

1.  Sorting

Sticks are marvelous math manipulatives!  Place a pile of sticks in front of your kids and encourage them to sort by size, color, and texture.


Hands on learning fun with sticks! Use them for math like activities for patterns.
Smiley is making sure Xman doesn’t mess with his stick pattern!

2.  Patterns

Again, magnificent math manipulatives!  Use the piles of sticks that have been sorted and use to create patterns.  Start simple and increase complexity of patterns with practice.

Use washi on sticks for hands on learning fun like patterns in math.

**An additional way to have sorting and patterns fun with sticks is to add washi tape!!  Use washi tape to adorn the ends of sticks and boost the challenge.


Use sticks for learning and practicing tally marks.

3.  Tally Marks

Do you have kids that are learning or need to practice tally marks?  Well, use nature’s finest source of tally marks-sticks!  Hands on manipulation of sticks is a great way to help this math concept “stick” (I had to use that pun at least once!)


4.  Mobile

Sticks can be used to create gorgeous mobiles for decoration inside or outside of your home.  Use a stick or two for a base. Consider the following materials to be used in your stick mobile:

  • string
  • yarn
  • twine
  • wire
  • fishing line
  • seashells
  • tin cans
  • bottle caps

Using playdough with sticks is a great hands on learning activity your kids can use for art or play time!
Interesting stick & playdough structure. It led to many different interpretations!

5.  Artistic Structure

Use sticks to build simple to intricate artistic structures.  Use glue, twine, or yarn.  Playdough or silly putty are also interesting and colorful ways to to make sure your sticks “stick”.

Create towers, log cabins, buildings, and bridges.  Make stick people-literally!  Design a stick vehicle.


Sticks can be used as a focal point in art projects for hands on learning fun.
Using sticks in your artwork gives a cool 3D affect!

6.  Painting & Drawing

A stick (or more!) can be used as the focal point of a piece of artwork.  Have your kids select a stick and determine how they could use it in a drawing or painting.  Attach stick to paper, cardboard, or piece of wood with glue.  Let their imaginations soar and decorate as desired.


Create custom magic wands and learning sticks with a bit of craft supplies and imagination.

7.  Magic Wands or Learning Sticks

Have your kids ever found extra special sticks during a nature outing?  If so, let them use one to create their very own magic wands.  Decorate with markers, yarn, twine, pony beads, and sequins.

Even toddlers can have hands on learning fun with sticks!
Xman customizing his learning stick. He worked hard at fitting pony beads on each end.

Another fun option is to allow your young learners to decorate their favorite sticks into “learning sticks”.  These sticks can be used as pointers during reading or other independent work (with specific safety rules, of course!)


8.  Kite

Homemade kites are special memories indeed!  Talk with your kids about appropriate materials for a DIY kite.  Decorate the kite material, such as old T-shirt, paper, or newspaper.  Attach kite to sticks and then to a long string or fishing  line.  Go outside on a windy day and test your stick kite!


9.  Picture Frame

Find or break sticks into desired size of picture frame.  Attach at corners using hot glue gun.  Complete with picture for a special bit of home decor or gift.


Hands on learning fun with sticks can be awesome ways for you to bring a bit of nature into your homeschool and family.  How do you use sticks for learning fun?

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