During the Summer holidays we’ve been trying out Stick-lets, a clever little product designed to take playing with sticks to a whole new level.
Stick-lets are a very simple idea: they’re silicone joints in a variety of sizes and shapes and you use them to lash sticks or wooden canes together. The idea is that they allow you to create more stable and imaginative structures than you would be able to manage without some sort of joint to hold things together. They’re weather resistant, washable, reusable and come with a little cloth bag to keep them in.
Before trying out the product, we went on a couple of stick-hunts in our local park to make sure we had a good variety of lengths to work with. This was a great activity in itself and a nice way to get the kids thinking about what they might make. If you don’t have easy access to lots of sticks you can always use garden canes instead, or a combination of both.
Armed with our stick pile, we tried out the Mega Fort 18 piece set which comes with three of each of the six different shapes. The colours all have quirky names, like Grasshopper Green and Pardon My Purple, a nice touch. The fact that you can just open the box and get straight into playing with them was a big hit with the children, no waiting around to remove the packaging. And no instructions either – what you make with stick-lets is up to you.
It took a little bit of practice for all of us to get the hang of how to use each joint to effectively lash sticks together. You do need a bit of strength to stretch and attach them, Lily who is four needed some help but Sam who is eight was fine.
Lily decided right at the start that she wanted to make a fairy den. Her structure was quite simple and we only used one stick-let, but that one joint made such a difference to how stable the whole thing was – in fact it was still rock solid six days later despite lots of rain and wind! It was lovely to watch her become completely absorbed in a world of her own making, decorating her structure and making up stories about who might visit.
Sam was much more free-form in his building; he just grabbed a couple of sticks, lashed them together, then kept going. The result was in his words “a sort-of den” which, like Lily’s, was so much more stable than it would have been without joints. Our creativity was cut short by the weather but the plan was to add sheets to the den to finish it off – we’ve always struggled to attach sheets securely but you could use a spare hole on a three-hole joint to do the job really well.
Stick-lets definitely fit into the category of a simple yet brilliant idea. They really do take den building to a whole new level and they’re fantastic for creative play. They also helped the children avoid the usual frustration of building something only to have it collapse on them. I really like that there is no right or wrong way to use them, what you make is entirely up to you and this really got the kids’ imaginations going. While we stuck to more traditional den-type structures on our first go, we’ve been talking about what else we could make with them and the children have come up with things like creatures, mazes and tunnels, so it’s definitely got them thinking.
Stick-lets are available in 2 different pack sizes, the 18 piece Mega Fort set we tested costs £32.99. I can see we’re going to get a lot of use out of ours; we’ll definitely take them with us on our outdoor adventures, they take up very little room which makes them perfect for popping into your bag when you’re heading outdoors or on holiday. And I know the kids will grab them when playing in the garden too, as our large stick pile has taken up permanent residence out there!
Exclusive stick-lets discount code
Growing Family readers can save 20% on the stick-lets range using the code STK20. The code is valid until 30th November 2015. Happy building!
I was gifted the stick-lets Mega Fort set for review purposes, all opinions and comments are honest and genuine.