Pathway: Stick Transformation Project

Pathway for Years 1 & 2

Making, Drawing, Sketchbooks

Key Concepts:

  • That artists use their creativity to look at the world in new ways, and use their hands to transform materials into new things. 

  • That making art can be playful and fun. That we can create things for other people to enjoy/use.

  • That we can use our imagination to help us shape the world. 

In this pathway children are enabled to use their imagination and transform a familiar object (a stick) into new forms.

The pathway begins with a simple sculptural warm-up which encourages children to think creatively and laterally about how they can use materials to create a small sculpture. 

Depending upon project choice, children then go on to make stick people inspired by Guatemalan Worry Dolls, make a treehouse, or make a mask.

Sketchbooks are used throughout to help children brainstorm, record and reflect. 

Twigs, Construction Materials, Paper, Wool, Drawing Materials

Artists: Chris Kenny

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Stick Man Worry dolls
Each child made their own treehouse
ages 5-8

A PDF of this pathway can be found here.

Teaching Notes

Curriculum Links

English: Link to Julia Donaldson’s Stick Man.

PSHE: Collaboration, Peer Discussion, Ethnic Identity.

I Can…

  • I can take a familiar object like a stick, and use my imagination to think about what it might become.

  • I can use my sketchbook to generate ideas and to test ideas.

  • I can use a variety of materials to transform my object thinking about form and colour.

  • I can cut materials with simple tools and fasten materials together to construct my sculpture.

  • I can share my sketchbook and sculpture with the class and talk about how I made it and what I liked. I can listen to my classmates feedback about my work.

  • I can listen to my classmates talk about their own artwork and I can share my thoughts about their work.

  • I can take a photograph of my sculpture, thinking about focus. 


This pathway takes 6 weeks, with an hour per week. Shorten or lengthen the suggested pathway according to time and experience. Follow the stages in green for a shorter pathway or less complex journey.


Roots and shoots materials such as a pebble, wire, tape, string, wool, paper, card, or other small found items and construction materials.

Project 1: Stick People – Sticks, string, wool, fabric scraps, tissue paper, glue.

Project 2: Tree house – Twigs, plant pots, newspaper, a stone, cardboard – brown corrugated card, coloured card, string, fabric, glue sticks, small pieces of wood (i.e. lolly sticks, coffee stirrers, match sticks etc) and other construction materials.

Project 3: Twig Masks – Twigs, masking tape, coloured tissue paper, glue.


Pathway: Stick Transformation Project

  • Aims of the Pathway

    The aim of this pathway is to help children understand how artists use their creativity to re-see, re-invent or reimagine the world around them. 

    The pathway encourages children to look again at something they are familiar with – in this case a stick or twig, and think how they can use their creativity to  transform it. 

  • Week 1: Making and Playing

    Roots and Shoots

    Use the “Roots and Shoots” resource to start with a making warm-up exercise to encourage pupils to think creatively about the world around them.

    Let the process of playing and exploring with the materials lead children to the end result. Remember that the outcomes will be fragile and may not last due to the nature of the task, so be sure to take photographs of them at the end of the session to add to sketchbooks. 

  • Weeks 2, 3, 4 and 5: Choose your Project/s

    Find Your Focus

    Choose one or two projects from the options below depending on how much time you have and how slowly the pupils work. 

    Watch “Design Through Making” to remind yourself that it’s okay for children to  just make first!

  • Project One: Introduce & Create

    Stick People

    Stick Man Worry Dolls

    Follow the pathway below to make stick people out of found twigs!



    Watch this video of ‘Stick Man’ as a light hearted introduction to the idea that sticks and twigs can be reimagined into different things!

    "4 worry dolls at work" by Leonard J Matthews is marked with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

    Watch the free to access “Talking Points: The Craft of Worry Dolls” resource to understand the Guatemalan tradition of making worry dolls. 

    Twelve Twigs 2012 construction with twigs 22 x 22 x 3” by Chris Kenny

    In the first session take a look at the free to access “Talking Points: Chris Kenny” to inspire children to see how sticks can be reinvented as people.

    Take the children outside to find the perfect sticks and use our “Worry People” resource to create a class full of stick people.

    Use sketchbooks to design clothes and explore how the position of arms/legs/body affects personality of stick person. 

  • Or...

  • Project Two: Introduce & Create

    Tree House

    Sticks secured in pots and then "dressed" with inventive treehouse elements

    Transform twigs into trees and use them to ignite imagination and build playful treehouses. 

    Start by exploring the free to access “Talking Points: Treehouses” resource for some inspiration.

    Continue by using the “Treehouse Challenge” resource.

    Use sketchbooks throughout as a way to sketch out ideas and make visual notes. 

    Finished AccessArt Treehouse

  • Or...

  • Project Three: Introduce & Create

    Twig Masks

    Cover over the tape with tissue paper again

    Use sticks, masking tape and tissue paper to create these simple masks.

    Adapt the “Making a Mask from Sticks” resource.

    Link to an existing curriculum topic if appropriate, or consider using the free to access “Source Material: Oceans” to find videos to inspire an underwater theme. 

    Use the “Ruler Drawings” resource to help children capture what they are seeing in straight lines, pausing the videos and giving pupils time to work in their sketchbooks. This will help them when they are reimagining twigs.

    If possible, go outside and forage for twigs with the children.

    Spend the next two sessions creating your crustacean inspired twig masks. 

  • Week 6: Present and Celebrate

    Share, Reflect, Discuss

    Stick Man Worry dolls

    Time to see the work which has been made, talk about intention and outcome.

    Invite children to display the work in a clear space, and walk around the work as if they are in a gallery. Give the work the respect it deserves. Remind the children of their hard work.

    If you have class cameras or tablets, invite the children to document their work, working in pairs or teams. Explore how children can take high quality photographs of 3d artwork with this resource.

    Use the resource here to help you run a class “crit” to finish the project. 

See This Pathway Used In Schools

Year 2, St Clare's Primary School, Coalville, Leicestershire
Year 2, St Clare's Primary School, Coalville, Leicestershire
Year 2, St Clare's Primary School, Coalville, Leicestershire
Year 2, St Clare's Primary School, Coalville, Leicestershire
Year 2, Whitchurch Primary
Year 2, Whitchurch Primary

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