How awesome was fort building over summer vacation?
Pretty awesome, right?
Remember getting together with the neighborhood kids at the perfect spot and working on the build together, for a few days or even weeks as the fort evolved with the needs of the new society that emerged within it. New towns would rise and fall, kids would go home in a huff if their name wasn’t chosen, but always return after lunch because the fort was too awesome to abandon just over a name. Ideas would be created, tested, and approved or abandoned, and we all worked collectively with the good of the fort as our main priority.
Fort building was by far a highlight of the summer that also taught spacial awareness, building, design, and social skills, while it forged nature connections, built community, and simply made us happy.
Our main fort spot was on a large wooded island in the middle of a cul-de-sac because it was like a real island to us with plenty of trees and sticks for building; followed by a secondary spot back of a path in the woods near a creek where we could catch minnows and tadpoles. Where was your spot? What made it so attractive to your young imaginations?
Remember heisting string and wire and whatever else you could find from tool sheds and garages to try to get your fort to stay together and withstand the summer afternoon thunderstorms?
Well kids, scavenge no more! RISD MFA Industrial Design Alumni Christina Kazakia has created Stick–lets. Cheerful silicon stick connectors developed to help inspire children to connect with nature by connecting sticks – for building forts!
Christina asked herself, “How can I, as a designer, encourage kids to interact with nature so they have a greater appreciation for it?” and Stick–lets are her answer! She says, “Stick-lets™ will introduce creative minds to the endless possibilities of constructing with nature’s coolest toy: the stick!”
While as veterans of fort building we may say, “Back in my day we didn’t have these new fangled connectors, we had to figure it out for ourselves!” Which on one hand is a good point, but on the other we also learned from older children in the neighborhood as such knowledge was passed down. However…..
Nowadays, children don’t necessarily have the kind of multi-age group outdoor free play learning available like we did. These Stick–let connectors are a great way to teach modern children the ins and outs of fort building while building a love for nature through play. Then, when they run out of connectors, they will discover how to use other materials for building like twine, nails, jamming sticks into spaces, and such more historically, um…advanced, techniques.
Stick–lets are pretty awesome and I’m sharing them with you because I think they are such a cool toy for summer, not because I’m getting any kickbacks, unfortunately!! I bought some for my nieces and nephews for their summer birthdays and I’m thinking about even getting a set for me because I read they also make great connectors for building bamboo garden trellises! (Um, sure, right, gardening is why I’m buying them!!!)
What made your favorite childhood fort building spot so special?
Who could you teach to build a fort this summer?
Seeds to Sprout:
Nature’s original toy! The stick is in the Toy Hall of Fame!
Check out the Stick-lets website if you want to pick up an set and get building this summer!
Check out the Stick-lets Kickstarter Campaign and watch a fun video. There’s 2 weeks left.
Keep up with the Kickstarter Campaign and Stick-let ideas by following Stick-lets on Facebook
You can even use Stick–lets inside on a rainy day by using dowel rods!