Participation Sticks

Make sure that every individual participates through the day.


Wooden ice-lolly sticks (or ‘popsicle’ sticks in the U.S.). You can buy these from big supermarkets. You need one for every child.

Every child’s name written on the end of the stick.

A jar or other receptacle for the sticks.


Put all the sticks in the jar, with the names facing down (i.e. hidden in the jar).

Every time there is any activity to be done by an individual, instead of deciding which child to do it (or instead of children putting their hands up), pull out a lolly stick – and that child does it.

Once you’ve pulled out a stick, put it in a different place (e.g. a box) – it does not go back in the jar (until the jar is totally empty – then you start again).

Example activities might be: being the leader of a game, modeling an exercise, classroom jobs, handing out books, choosing the next activity, etc.

It can also be used for answering questions – but careful of using it for hard questions that only a few children would know the answer to.

This works especially well for classroom jobs (tidying, sorting, finding etc.). Giving jobs to your children increases their responsibility over the classroom.