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Aug
18

Wikki Stix and STEM in Early Childhood

For many years, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) has been promoted in the early childhood field. STEM is used as a foundation for building inquiry and problem solving into everyday learning and routines with young children. Using Wikki Stix with young learners is not only playful and fun, but the designs and constructions help encourage inquiry and problem solving skills through creative expression.

Wikki Stix and STEM in Early Childhood

Using Wikki Stix for construction is an open-ended activity that promotes critical thinking and application skills in early childhood. While children’s designs and constructions may be dismissed by some as simple child’s play, there are many elements that must go into creations:

  • What will I build?
  • What shapes will I use?
  • Do I have a mental plan on how to construct it?
  • Does that plan work when I try it?
  • How can I modify or improve the construction?

Did the construction work out the way I intended it to?

To encourage young children to design and create, set out a variety of Wikki Stix colors on a table or tray. Wikki Stix can be cut with safety scissors, but for very young children pre-cut each Wikki Stix strand into fourths prior to the activities.
WIKKI STIX and TRIANGLES
Problem: What Wikki Stix creation could the children make using only Wikki Stix triangles?
In small groups, the children experimented with the idea and tried many different arrangements of triangles. The children asked questions of each other and learned to deal with different emotions as they worked together to create. Alas, one group of children designed the pyramid in the photo above.
Hexagon Construction and Design for Kids

Another group of children chose to create a hexagon pattern from triangles! The group cut Wikki Stix strands into fourths and connected each of the smaller strands to Wikki Stix ball-shaped connectors.

That same group shared some of the Wikki Stix ball connectors with 3 year olds. Although not a triangle, two children constructed the shape below!
Square Construction and Design for Kids

After several days of practicing with triangles, a group of 5 year olds constructed this 3-D pyramid.
Pyramid Construction and Design for Kids

The pyramid above was not an easy task! In creating the pyramid, the children used the following skills:

  • Estimation
  • Number concepts for creation of the triangles
  • Weight, height, and balance of the pyramid
  • Relationships between the shapes
  • Fine Motor
  • Team work
  • Creative Expression
  • Inquiry and Problem solving

Offering young children opportunities to inquire, explore, design, problem solve, and create with Wikki Stix will enhance important critical thinking skills! What will your own children create with Wikki Stix today?

Aug
13

Wikki Stix and Nature Crafts for Kids!

There are few things that kids like more than being outdoors! The Wikki Stix activities below are designed to inspire playful learning and creating with items commonly found in nature!

Wikki Stix and Nature Crafts for Kids!

WIKKI STIX COLORED ROCK DOMINOES

Materials Needed: Rocks from outdoors (longer ones work best for dominoes) and assorted colors of Wikki Stix.

The Wikki Stix colored dominoes are easy crafts for kids to create. Invite the children to wrap one color of Wikki Stix around one end of the rock and a separate color of Wikki Stix on the opposite end. Each colored end of the rock will take approximately 4-5 Wikki Stix (depending on the size of the rocks used).

After the children are finished wrapping the Wikki Stix rock dominoes, allow time for the children to share their dominoes and discuss the colors used.

To play a domino game: Set all of the Wikki Stix created rock dominoes out on a table or the ground. One child must choose a domino to begin and then lay that domino on the ground or table. Play then passes to another player who must lay a domino with one matching colored end next to the domino already in place. The game continues until all colored dominoes have been used or until no dominoes can be matched to those that have been played.

Creating the rock dominoes not only enhances color recognition skills, but it is a wonderful fine motor activity for kids, too!

Wikki Stix Classic Rock Dominoes Crafts for Kids

WIKKI STIX CLASSIC ROCK DOMINOES

Extension Activity: Instead of creating colored rock dominoes, invite the children to create classic dominoes with rocks and Wikki Stix.
The children can use one Wikki Stix strand and wrap it around the center of the rock. The children should cut another Wikki Stix strand into thirds. The smaller cut pieces can then be formed into balls or spirals and used to make the classic “dots” on each end of the rock (see photo above).

The children can then play the rock domino game by matching the number of dots on one domino end to the corresponding number of dots on another domino (see photo above).

Wikki Stix Trees Counting Activity for Kids

WIKKI STIX CREATED TREES and LEAVES MATH ACTIVITY

Materials needed: Plain Paper (one sheet per craft), brown Wikki Stix, and real leaves.
Give each child a sheet of paper and brown Wikki Stix. The children can create any kind of tree desired on the paper. Younger children may wish to press 1 or 2 brown Wikki Stix to the paper for their tree. Older children may create more intricate trees for their craft.

When the children have finished creating their trees, invite them to create any number they have had introduced or are working on with Wikki Stix. Younger children should count out the number of leaves that correspond to the number they created and place the leaves on their tree. The leaves will adhere to the Wikki Stix without the need for tape or glue.

The Wikki Stix trees and leaves craft is a great way to introduce the concept of 1-to-1 correspondence for young kids.

Additional Math Games:

ADDITION: Invite the children to place any number of leaves on their tree. Count the number of leaves placed on the tree. Ask the children to ADD one or two more leaves to the tree. Count the total number of leaves. Invite the children to use Wikki Stix to create the addition problem (for example: 6 + 2 = 8).

SUBTRACTION: Invite the children to count out a pre-determined number of leaves and set that group aside. The children can then subtract any number of leaves from that group and place them on the Wikki Stix trees. How many leaves are now left in the group? The children can create the subtraction problem with Wikki Stix (for example: 9 – 4 = 5).

Wikki Stix Leaf Buddies Fine Motor Craft for Kids

WIKKI STIX LEAF BUDDIES FINE MOTOR CRAFT

Materials needed: Leaves and assorted colors of Wikki Stix

Leaf buddies are fun crafts for kids to make to enhance fine motor skills! Wikki Stix will adhere to the leaves without the need for tape or glue. Give each child a leaf and invite them to use their imagination to create any kind of leaf buddy desired.

Playing in nature is an important part of healthy development for every child. By using Wikki Stix with items commonly found in nature, we can expand play into playful learning with just a little imagination and creativity!

Aug
11

Designer Piggy Bank Reviews!

Designer Piggy Bank

High quality ceramic Piggy Bank, with stopper for easy coin removal.

You design it your way… maybe to match your room… or to reflect what you’re saving for… or polka dots and stripes!

You design it any way YOU want !!

Wikki Stix adhere to the Piggy Bank with just light fingertip pressure, so kids can have fun being creative.

Read the Reviews!

Chic N Savvy Reviews

The Talking Walnut

Outnumbered 3 to 1

Mail 4 Rosey

Emily Reviews

Diaries of a Domestic Goddess

More info on the Designer Piggy Bank!

Aug
06

Wikki Stix Apples Activities for Playful Learning!

Wikki Stix Apples Activities for Playful Learning!

Learning with apple-themed activities is fun for young kids! Whether at home or in the classroom, the apples activities below will invite children to explore, create, play, and learn with Wikki Stix!

Wikki Stix Apple Tracing Activity

WIKKI STIX APPLE FINE MOTOR TRACING ACTIVITY

Materials needed: Red, Yellow, OR Green Wikki Stix, Craft Sticks, scissors, and one Apple Tree Printable (Download the Apple Tree PDF here) for each child.

Print the Apple Tree file (linked above) and laminate for durability. Invite the children to create by placing all supplies out on a table or a tray.

The object of the game is to make different line paths from the apple tree to the apple.

On 4 craft sticks, make different line paths with Wikki Stix (see craft sticks on the left side of the tray in the photo above). Invite the children to choose one craft stick at a time and try to copy the pattern on the craft stick to the printable using Wikki Stix.

Note: the line paths are suggestions, but any line path can be used. This is a great fine motor activity for encouraging small finger muscles to grow!

Wikki Stix Apple Counting Sticks

WIKKI STIX APPLE COUNTING STICKS – a 1-to-1 Correspondence Activity

Materials needed: Red/Green/Yellow/Brown Wikki Stix and Red/Green/Yellow Pompoms.

One-to-One Correspondence is the knowledge that a certain number relates to a specific quantity of objects. The goal is to help young children gain confidence not only with number recognition, but to help them move beyond just recognition and toward the question: How many items make up any specific number?

The Apple Counting Sticks are perfect for practicing basic counting and 1-to-1 Correspondence.

To make the apples: Invite the children to create spirals for the apples by wrapping Wikki Stix around itself. The apples in the photo above were created with 3 strands of Wikki Stix. Younger children may initially require assistance, but once they see how to wrap the Wikki Stix, the children can make the apple spirals independently. If desired, the children can create the apple’s stem from cut pieces of brown Wikki Stix and the leaf with green Wikki Stix.

Once the apple spirals are created, they will become the toppers for the counting sticks. Simply press the Wikki Stix created apples to the top of another strand of Wikki Stix. The children can create numbers (or an adult/older child) to place on the apples. Use any number that the children have had introduced or that they are currently working on.
Place the Apple Counting Sticks out on a table or a tray and invite the children to use corresponding colors of pompoms (apples) on each stick. The pompoms will adhere to the Wikki Stix without the need for glue/tape.

Wikki Stix Apple Groups

Wikki Stix for Counting Groups

As an extension activity, invite the children to create numbers with Wikki Stix and use any counters (buttons, beads, seeds, etc.) to make small groups that correspond to those same numbers. Set the groups and numbers out on a table and have the children use Wikki Stix to connect the number with the corresponding group of items. **Note –if using small counters, please supervise children who still put objects into their mouth as they can be a choking hazard.

Wikki Stix Apple Mosaic Craft

Wikki Stix Apple Mosaic Craft

Materials needed: one apple template (Download the WS Apple Template here), assorted collage materials (suggestions: fabric or paper scraps, beans, beads, leaves, or pompoms), and any color of Wikki Stix.

Wikki Stix Apple Mosaic Fill

To make the Apple Mosaic Craft: Print one apple template (above) for the children and have them randomly fill the space inside the apple with Wikki Stix (see photo above). Any collage scraps or materials will stick to the Wikki Stix. In the photo above, the children used black beans for the apple stem, cut pieces of paper straws for the apple’s leaf, and assorted red/orange/pink buttons to fill the apple.

The apple mosaics are fun crafts to display at home or in the classroom!

We hope your children enjoy playful learning with the Wikki Stix apple-themed activities!

Jul
29

Feed the Monkey – a Wikki Stix Fine Motor Game for Kids

Feed the Monkey – a Wikki Stix Fine Motor Game for KidsIn the preschool years, learning how to make marks or write, cut with scissors, and manipulate smaller objects is a part of normal growth and development. Once school begins, many children struggle with small motor control, especially when it comes to holding a pencil (handwriting). By offering playful opportunities to help our children gain fine motor control, we can encourage finger muscles to grow and positive early learning experiences. The Wikki Stix Feed the Monkey Game is a great activity for encouraging finger muscles to grow while playing and having FUN!

Feed the Monkey – a Wikki Stix Fine Motor Game for Kids

Wikki Stix Feed the Monkey Craft

Outline: Feed the Monkey – a Wikki Stix Fine Motor Game for Kids

Materials needed: Brown, White, and Black Wikki Stix and one Monkey template (linked here)

To create the Monkey: Print the Monkey Template (linked here) and laminate for durability (if laminating supplies are not available, clear contact paper will work, too). Invite the children to outline the Monkey with brown Wikki Stix. Near the monkey’s mouth, have the children form a circle from one strand of Wikki Stix and place it on the template. The children should then fill-in the Monkey outline with additional brown Wikki Stix, but the mouth circle should remain OPEN (see photo above). Creating with Wikki Stix is a wonderful fine motor activity. Younger children may need assistance in finishing the monkey for the game.

If desired, the children can make the eyes, nose, or any other monkey facial features with additional Wikki Stix.

Banana Craft: Feed the Monkey – a Wikki Stix Fine Motor Game for Kids

Bananas Craft

Materials needed: Yellow Wikki Stix and scissors.

Have the children cut several strands of Wikki Stix in half. The children can fold each half over and form into a crescent (banana) shape. Make several Wikki Stix banana crafts as they will be used in playing the fine motor game.

Feed the Monkey – a Wikki Stix Fine Motor Game for Kids

To play the game: Press the Wikki Stix created monkey craft onto a small bowl or container (leaving the mouth hole just above the rim of the container). The Wikki Stix monkey craft will adhere to the container without the need for tape or glue. Put all of the small bananas inside a separate container. The object of the fine motor game is to transfer the created bananas into the monkey’s mouth with various utensils. In the photo above, our kids used tweezers to transfer the bananas from the container to the monkey’s mouth. Other suggested transfer utensils might include: a spoon, small tongs, fingers (pincer grasp enhancement), or chop sticks (more advanced fine motor).

By creating and playing with Wikki Stix, kids will garner the fine motor control that is so important for a successful beginning to the formal school years!

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