The outcome of all of my pruning is many, many sticks. These sticks kicked my creative brain into gear on what we could do with them. Sure, I could throw them right into the burn pile, or make a hugekultur bed. However, delighting & engaging my kids outdoors ranks higher on my list then either of these.
Right next to where I have diligently pruned my Saskatoon bushes is a small strip of trees. It’s a pretty overgrown and wild little space. The little trees in it though are perfect for shelter building. There’s a lot of different ways you can build shelters – the how isn’t really as important as the learning the skills. Teaching kids how to stack up the branches to overlap can be a great survival skill to learn. If ever they are lost in the forest, or in a survival situation, keeping warm and staying put are priorities. Use what you’ve got in your backyard, and take this one for a trial run.
Build an Stick House with Kids
Find an Outdoor Space
Check out a wooden space near to you. Trails, backyards, and parks can have little nooks of trees that will work well for building your stick house. Don’t think you need acres and acres of tree, just a small grouping will do. You’re looking for trees that are large enough to lean other small branches against (think 6″ thick or better).
Grab Branches or Other Natural Building Materials
Branches from nearby trees that have fallen make excellent stick houses. Within the bush you should be able to find some. Consider any natural building materials available (mud, leaves, boughs, grass and even snow) will all work depending on your season.
Build, Build, Build
The trick is to overlap the sticks and try to get them to block the wind as much as possible, since we’re trying to keep warm. Adding heavier insulated layers on top (leaves, boughs, etc) can let us block most of the wind. Ask the kids which way the wind is blowing today, and how much room they will need within their shelter. Since there were trees on the back side of ours, we only had to build up one side.
Share Your Creations!
We’d love to see your shelters! Share them with us on Instagram with the hashtag #wildfreeplay