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We had a revelation recently while on a family hike that led us to this fun DIY walking stick craft idea. Our 4-year-old son is typically quite enjoyable and well behaved when we head outdoors. But not this particular time. He whined and whined and kept repeating that he was bored. To be fair, it was a bit icy out and the trail was rough going.
After going on like this for some time, my husband finally had the idea of distracting him by looking for a walking stick to help him along. After examining a few different sticks they finally found the perfect one. And voila! His mood was instantly improved and he was good to go for the rest of the hike.
Literally. That was all it took. A stick that we found on the side of the trail. Kids are such funny creatures, aren’t they? So we thought that if he enjoyed that stick so much, we’d bring it home and decorate it and let him make a proper DIY walking stick out of the thing. And we did!
If your kids love playing with sticks as much as mine, this DIY walking stick is a great craft for them! And we didn’t have to buy a single thing. Just have them find the perfect stick next time they’re out, then bring it home and decorate it with whatever materials you have around the house. Read on to see how we made ours!
Find the right stick.
There’s no exact science to it, although your kids might take this task very seriously. For the perfect DIY walking stick, look for one that hasn’t begun to decay yet. Make sure it’s thick enough to be sturdy but not so thick that your child can’t wrap their hand around it.
It should be tall enough to reach somewhere between your child’s elbow and shoulder when held out straight on the ground next to them. Ours was relatively straight, but one with a few curves or twists would also work fine and add a bit of character.
The first step to creating our DIY walking stick was painting it, which my little guy really enjoyed! I’ve seen people make snazzy stripes and pretty designs like these, but my son is a little younger and just wanted to freehand it and create his own blend of colors. Keep in mind that your kids will have to let the paint dry, then come back to flip the stick over and paint the other side later.
Use as many or as few colors as you like! We used my acrylic paints rather than his washable ones because I thought that would show up better on the dark stick. Feel free to experiment with whatever paints you have! Also, an apron is a good idea (which you can see we weren’t doing at first 😜).
Make a handle.
This is optional, but we chose to add a leather handle to our DIY walking stick because it’s nice to have a smooth grip to hold onto. And I got to learn a cool new knot! It’s called a common whipping knot. I’ll walk you through it below, but here’s a video if you need a little more help with it.
Add some embellishments.
Now’s the time to get creative and make this DIY walking stick your own! Or…your kids, I suppose. Pull out whatever craft supplies you have around the house that you’d like to add! I happen to have a lot of natural elements around, so we went with feathers, shells, and beads made of wood and bone.
I wanted my little guy to be able to do this part as well, so I threaded a dull embroidery needle for him and laid out all the supplies. This way, he was able to create his own unique little dangly string to add to his walking stick.
To make it easier to tie at the end, I would recommend stringing it through first as pictured below and pulling halfway through, then letting your kids bead it.
I learned the hard way that this needs to be super secure since it’ll be swinging around a bit as your kids use it. The first time around, I only used thin sewing thread and it broke on its maiden voyage. Actually, we hadn’t even made it to the trail yet. It literally broke in the parking lot 🤦. Lesson learned.
The second time around, I used this artificial sinew that I sew leather with. So whatever you use, make sure it’s sturdy! I also reinforced the knots with hot glue…just in case. Boom! Our DIY walking stick is finished!
Head out on the trail!
Now that your DIY walking stick is complete, it’s time to hit the trails! My little guy was so proud of his and wanted to show it to everybody! And by everybody, I just mean both sets of grandparents. He even got a complement on it from some random guy the moment after he pulled it out of the car!
I don’t know what it is about sticks, but this one sure made our little dude one happy camper. He even claimed that “I do anything with my walking stick!” So there ya go. It’ll also endow them with superhuman powers.
I hope your kids enjoy this DIY walking stick as much as mine did! If you enjoyed this post, check out our other tips for hiking with toddlers!
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