Sticks and peas allow children to explore line, shape and space, creating their own unique constructions.

Sticks and peas were one of Froebel's original Froebel's Occupations - creative activities and experiences for young children.

"Through the Occupations, children can:

  • represent, be inventive and engage creatively and imaginatively
  • build their physical competencies
  • make links to everyday life, nature, knowledge and understanding
  • be empowered to move from the here and now to the abstract (so laying the foundations of literacy and mathematical understanding)
  • develop dispositions and attitudes that will benefit them in the adult world of work."

Prof. Tina Bruce and Jane Dyke, Learning from Froebel (2017)

Connectedness is at the core of Froebel's approach to early education. To further develop children's understanding of th links between solid, plane, lines and points, he introduced the Occupation of sticks and peas.

Stick and pea constructions can be created using peas (garden or marrowfat), clay, blu-tak, plasticine or cork as connectors between small sticks, toothpicks or cocktail sticks. It is more ethical nowadays to try to avoid using food for play.

Playing with sticks and 'peas' helps children to hone their fine motor skills.

The constructions have a similarity to molecular models and help children to learn about how to create and build their own 3D structures.

"(Children's) thinking develops in the symbolic representations and play scenarios they make and create."
Prof. Tina Bruce, Empowering Learning: play, symbols and creativity (2023)

Sticks and peas allow children to explore mathematical forms and scientific concepts.

The Occupation develops children's fine motor skills and helps children learn about the strong shapes which are essential in engineering.

"Nowadays, children are provided with expensive construction kits, but Froebel introduced something that still has benefit today, known as sticks and peas. Consisting of cocktail sticks and either peas or pea-sized pieces of clay or Blu-Tak, this ‘construction kit’ enables children to create wonderful constructions, such as geodesic domes, and is a perfect example of line and point work, which come together, making a hollow solid."

Prof. Tina Bruce and Jane Dyke, Learning from Froebel (2017)

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