I saw a paddle pop door in my online travels, and thought it to be a perfect addition to extend the play area we’ve slowly created around a backyard tree. I can see this idea used by the kids on cardboard boxes and other places too. In this instance, before the kids came home from school, I spent snippets of time making two doors for outdoor use. Below is how I put it together.
8 Paddle Pop (or Popsicle) Sticks
PVA Glue (waterproof – which most of them are)
Map Pins (optional)
1. Lay 6 paddle pop sticks next to each other.
2. Using scissors, trim the remaining two sticks so they fit across the door (have the rounded ends hanging over a little). I did one door with two bars and one with three.
3. Glue the reinforcing bars on the top of the 6-paddle-pop-stick-row. Once glue is relatively dry, paint the door if desired. I don’t expect these little doors to last a long time, but I put a coat of Jo Sonja’s Gloss Varnish – Indoor & Outdoor Use over the top which will help protect them for outdoor use.
5. As these doors will go outside, I’m using PVA glue and map pins that act like nails into the tree. Place glue all over the back of the door before pressing it into position on a tree.
6. This is the only tricky part. I tried small nails, but due to the fragility of the paddle pop sticks, the wood split, so I used map pins instead. After pressing the paddle pop stick to the tree, I used a small hammer to (very gently) tap in the map pins. This is a hazard (in the unlikely event they fall out) so I’ll keep an eye on them in the upcoming weeks. Glue (without pins) would work too, but won’t last as long.
7. For the red door, I used only one pin (as the door handle) to hold in place as the glue dries.
Everything was dry by the time the kids were home from school on a Friday afternoon. The girls found the small dolls and my son his dinosaur figurines from the playroom, decorated around the doors with rocks and flowers, and set up a game underneath the shade of the tree.
Family Dynamics in Play
I don’t know if anyone else has this challenge: having only the one boy (the youngest) and three girls, I’ve noticed increasingly my son struggle to fit in the girl’s games (but desperately wants to). His type of games are smashing toys together, toys fighting, fast cars, toys diving into dirt, and the girls find this disruptive to their game after a while. My heart goes out to my son who I can see is really trying to play. It’s something I’ve been working on with the kids, because I notice the “he wrecks everything” message has started to sink in and affect him, and yet much of the time it’s simply a different type of play the girls don’t value. I can see it from their point of view too though!
Interesting dynamics, and I’m still trying to work out how to handle it. Parallel play works well sometimes, so they play together, but apart. So in this instance, when son brought out the dinosaurs, I heard the girls go, “Don’t bring the dinosaurs here!” I reminded the two playing girls, that he was allowed to contribute to the game too, so have a think about how it could work.
Fascinating: later I was asked to come out later to see the ‘porthole’ which acts like a doorway to another world, Dinosaur World, where my son had set up in another section of the garden. He seemed very pleased with the arrangement and both worlds meshed well this time.
And then, in the morning, as I prepared a special Saturday breakfast, I snuck out and noticed the two youngest contining their game from the afternoon before. It all started with the inspiration of a few paddle pop stick doors.
It’s been over 6 months since we made these little doors for the backyard tree. I’m surprised to say they are still there holding strong and this is what they look like.