Nigel’s Baby Club Diaries – Playing with a Stick

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The Baby Club – Episode 15

Playing with a Stick – Advice for Parents

In each episode of The Baby Club we have a ‘What’s in the bag?’ section, and in episode 15 we were playing with a stick. When we were playing with them, you may not have been aware of how much thought had gone into how and why we used them. Also you might be interested to know how this item has inspired other parts of that specific episode. For that reason and to provide tips for new parents and fans of the show, I have written Nigel’s Baby Club Diaries. Hopefully they will help you see:-

  • How important your interactions with very young children are. 
  • Why they can help with learning.
  • Ideas for verbal interactions you can have with your baby.
  • That you are not alone in your thoughts.
  • That dads shouldn’t be embarrassed about getting involved too.

The information you will find here draws on Peeple’s Learning Together Programme. Peeple and the Foundation Years Trust charities were consultants on the Baby Club. As with anything regarding your baby, if you have any queries you should speak to your health visitor. They will be able to provide help and support with questions you may have.

Things you can do with a Stick?

During episode 15 we were playing with a stick. You may have seen us banging saucepans with them, waving them in the air, and playing with shaker sticks. All of these help develop different aspects of your baby’s basic skills, and I will discuss these in a moment. But first I would like to give you a couple more ideas and things to look out for when you are trying this at home. These ideas are good as your baby gets older and you want to develop more complex skills.

  • You can use your stick during nursery rhymes or songs. Rhymes like ‘This old Man’ are great. And don’t forget Hey Duggee’s ‘Stick Song’. 
  • If you are playing with sticks of different sizes, colours, and textures, encourage your child to find a specific type. This is a great opportunity to develop language. Simple phrases such as ‘Can you find the small stick?’, ‘Feel at the smooth stick’, are a good place to start and as with most activities involving your baby the more repetition, encouragement and smiles, the more your baby will get involved, understand and develop.
  • Finally, sticks are a good excuse to get outside and discover nature. From trees and plants to insects and animals there are many things in nature that will fascinate and intrigue a young child. You can stay close to home if you’re lucky enough to have a garden or go on a nature walk to your local park or green.

What areas does this activity help with?

Rhythm Coordination

Using shaker sticks or using your stick as a drum stick are a great way to help your baby get involved with music. It will teach your baby that their actions can cause sounds. This can be fascinating for a young child and moving to repeat and explore these sounds will increase their coordination and muscle tone.

Sensory Development

Sticks come in many different shapes, sizes and textures, from big to small, from rough to smooth. Couple this with the fact that you may actually be playing outside and your baby has a multitude of sensory experiences to explore. Some trees and plants are also fragrant so don’t forget that you may find an opportunity to add smells to the mix.

Language Extension

Most activities are a good opportunity to develop language and understanding. The ones described here are good for learning phrases like ‘Where is the big stick?’ or ‘Look at the smooth stick’. The more repetition, encouragement and smiles that you use, the more your baby will get involved and develop.

Icons made by Freepik from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY

Songs and Nursery Rhymes

Songs and nursery rhymes are a huge part of The Baby Club and a fun way for babies and young children to learn. You’ll be surprised how well babies remember information that is delivered in a song. When we were playing with sticks we sang ‘One, Two, Buckle My Shoe’. But there are a couple of other nursery rhymes you could use. ‘This Old Man’ which has the line ‘He played nick nack on some sticks’ and ‘E,I,E,I,Ohh’ are both good alternatives.

What other objects can I use?

Want to learn more?

If you have found this helpful and want to find out more about supporting your child’s learning, please check out Peeple’s Facebook page. If you’re a practitioner, you can find out about the Peep Learning Together Programme and training on the Peeple website, or email Charlotte on

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