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Jul
22

Creative Activities to Teach Colors with Wikki Stix

The ability to recognize and identify colors is an important developmental milestone for kids. Early identification helps young children make important brain connections with their physical world. With the Wikki Stix activities below (and a little practice), teaching colors to kids can be a fun and creative learning experience!

Creative Activities to Teach Colors with Wikki Stix

Wikki Stix Glasses and a Nature Colors Hunt

Materials needed: one Wikki Stix Colors printable (Download the Colors Printable pdf here) for each child (laminate or cover with clear contact paper for durability), clipboard, pencils or crayons, scissors, and assorted Wikki Stix for the children to make the glasses craft.

Set out assorted colors of Wikki Stix and invite the children to make the Wikki Stix glasses. The children should make two circles from two Wikki Stix. Cut another Wikki Stix in half and use it to connect the two circles (this piece will make the nose bridge). Have the children use 2 more Wikki Stix to form an ear piece on both sides of the circles. Make a “hook” around the ear with the remaining length of the Wikki Stix on each side. Younger children will need assistance in making their glasses.

When the glasses activity is finished, discuss the individual colors on the printable. Have the children wear their glasses outside to see which of the colors on the printable they can find in nature. The children can circle YES (or NO) if they are able to locate those colors while outside. Note: The children may wish to use a clipboard to hold the printable while outside on their colors hunt.

Extension Activity: Go on a colors hunt inside. Have the children wear their glasses and search for any items they can find that correspond to the colors on the printable. Come together after the search and discuss what items were found.

Gumball Machine Colors

Wikki Stix Gumball Machine Colors

Materials needed: one Wikki Stix Gumball Machine Colors printable (Download the Gumball Machine pdf here) for each child and Red/Yellow/Blue/Green/Purple/Pink/Orange/Brown/Black and White Wikki Stix.

Print the Gumball Machine for each child and laminate for durability. Set out the various colors of Wikki Stix on a table or tray. Invite the children to make a small ball with each color of Wikki Stix and place it inside the circles on the gumball machine. The color words are highlighted to help the children understand the connection between the color word and the color it represents. If desired, the children can mark off each color word with the corresponding colored Wikki Stix as each of the different balls are created.

Wikki Stix Colors Book

Wikki Stix Colors and Basic Shapes Printable Book

Materials needed: one printable book (Download the Colors Book pdf here), scissors, and Red/Yellow/Blue/Green/Purple/Pink/Orange/Brown/Black and White Wikki Stix.

Print the Colors Book for each child. Discuss the colors within the book with the children. Set out the assorted colors of Wikki Stix on a table or a tray. Invite the children to trace the shapes on each of the color pages with the corresponding color of Wikki Stix.

This is a great book to practice reading color words, to recognize basic shapes, and for identifying various colors.

Children are surrounded by colors every day! Learning to identify colors with the Wikki Stix activities above will open new opportunities to explore the beauty of all the colors in their world!

Jul
17

Wikki Stix Sunflower Life Cycle and Crafts for Kids!

Sunflowers are majestic and beautiful plants!

The activities below use Wikki Stix for playful learning at home or in the classroom! Come explore and create the sunflower’s life cycle, practice counting with sunflower seeds, and create a 3-D sunflower craft this summer!

Wikki Stix Sunflower Life Cycle and Crafts for Kids!
Wikki Stix Sunflower Life Cycle Paper Plate Craft

Materials needed: 1 Paper plate per child/life cycle craft, Yellow, Black, Orange, and Green Wikki Stix, scissors, sunflower seeds, and a marker or the printable (linked here) for labeling the craft.

Explain and discuss with the children the growth of a sunflower from seeds to a mature flower that contains more seeds. Remind the children that a life cycle repeats itself over and over again. Have the children divide the paper plate into four sections using Wikki Stix (as shown in photo above).

  1. The life cycle begins in the upper left corner. Have the children cut small pieces of Wikki Stix with scissors and place the sunflower seeds on top of the Wikki Stix inside that section. No glue is necessary as the seeds will adhere to the Wikki Stix.
  2. In the upper right corner of the paper plate, the children can make a small sprout using the green Wikki Stix.
  3. The lower right corner of the plate should contain a young plant. Have the children make make a larger green stem and leaves to resemble the young sunflower.
  4. To complete the life cycle, the children can make a flower with the seeds in the lower left hand corner of the plate.

The children can use markers to label their SUNFLOWER LIFE CYCLE or they can cut the labels from the printable above. The labels will adhere directly to the Wikki Stix without the need for glue.

Sunflower Seed Counting for Kids
Sunflower Counting Stix
Download Sunflower Counting Stix Labels PDF Here
Download the Sunflower Counting Stix Toppers PDF Here

Materials needed: Green Wikki Stix, scissors, sunflower counting labels (linked above), and sunflower seeds.

Print the sunflower counting stix toppers, laminate for durability, and cut out. Invite the children to create any number with Wikki Stix and place it on the sunflower topper. The flower toppers can then be adhered to one Wikki Stix strand. Invite the children to count out the number of sunflower seeds that corresponds to the number created on the topper.

Have the children stick the sunflower seeds directly on the Wikki Stix stem. The Wikki Stix will hold the sunflower seeds as the children practice counting. It is a great 1-to-1 Correspondence activity for young kids!

Extensions: Label the toppers with uppercase letters and the matching lowercase letters. The children can practice matching the uppercase to its corresponding lowercase letter. The toppers can also be used with sight words, word families, blends, or other words the children may be working on.

For older children: Have the children ADD or MULTIPLY two of the Wikki Stix numbered toppers to find the total. The children can then create the problem with Wikki Stix (ex: 4 + 4 = 8).

Sunflower Craft for Kids
Wikki Stix Sunflower Craft

Materials needed: Yellow, Orange, Green, and Black Wikki Stix, scissors, and sunflower seeds.

Invite the children to create by placing all the supplies out on a table or a tray. The orange and yellow Wikki Stix should be cut in half (younger children may need assistance).

To make the sunflower petals: fold ½ of a yellow or orange Wikki Stix over (leaving an opening) and pinch the bottom ends together. The children can pinch the top of the petal to form a point (see photo above).

To make the stem: twist 3 green Wikki Stix strands together. By twisting the Wikki Stix it will create the textured sunflower stem.

To form the center: make a black spiral by wrapping black Wikki Stix around itself. To make the center larger, continue wrapping black Wikki Stix in a spiral until the desired circle is made.

Seeds: press sunflower seeds onto the black center. The seeds will adhere to the Wikki Stix so no glue will be necessary. The sunflower seeds can also be made from white Wikki Stix if desired.

The Wikki Stix Sunflower activities are a great way to integrate fine motor skills into playful learning! The crafts are not only FUN to create, but they make wonderful summer displays at home or in the classroom!

Jul
07

Wikki Stix Created Dominoes: Early Math for Kids!

Wikki Stix Created Dominoes:  Early Math for Kids!

As an old English proverb goes, “Necessity is the Mother of Invention!” While packing classroom supplies at the end of our preschool year, I inadvertently packed our dominoes, too. They will resurface as I unpack for a new school year, but I wanted to use dominoes this summer to expand on the concepts of dot patterns, counting and correspondence, and basic math after reading Donald Crew’s book, Ten Black Dots. Since we use Wikki Stix regularly for playing and learning, we decided to create our own set of dominoes. Not only did our kids gain fine motor skills in creating with Wikki Stix, they were also incorporating many early math skills!

Wikki Stix Dominoes for Early Math
Wikki Stix Dominoes

Materials needed: Wikki Stix and scissors.
Invite the children to create by placing the Wikki Stix out on a table or a tray. One regular strand of Wiki Stix is needed to create the basic rectangle for the domino. Younger children may need assistance in creating the basic domino outline. The children can then fill in the rectangle by tracing inside the outline with additional Wikki Stix (see photo below).

Domino Outline

Once the rectangle is completely filled in, have the children cut a piece of Wikki Stix to divide the rectangle in half. The children can then make small balls or spirals from cut pieces of Wikki Stix for the domino dots. For our younger children, we set out dice so the children could copy the dot patterns to each side of the Wikki Stix dominoes. Invite the children to count out loud as they place each Wikki Stix dot on the dominoes.

Games to play with the Wikki Stix created Dominoes:

WS Domino Train for Early Math

Domino Trains – decide on any one number prior to creating the domino train. Invite the children to place the dominoes in a straight line on the floor until the total number of dots counted is equal to that predetermined number. The number can be any number(s) the children have had introduced. For a math center, have the children make Wikki Stix numerals on index cards. The children must draw one number card at a time and create a domino train that corresponds to that number (can be done individually or in a small group). To print an ENGINE for the domino trains, see the ADDITIONAL RESOURCES section below.

Sink the Wikki Stix Domino – label several plastic or paper cups with a Wikki Stix created numbers. Label the cups with any numbers that correspond to the number of dots on the Wikki Stix dominoes created in the activity above. Have the children count the dots on both sides of a Wikki Stix domino, add the number of dots together, and place it in the corresponding numbered cup.

Domino Early Math Addition with Wikki Stix

Addition, Subtraction (Multiplication/Division) – to help encourage transferring and basic counting skills, give each child a plain sheet of paper and invite them to create the outline of a domino. Our kids used one strand of Wikki Stix for the top, one strand for the bottom, and one-half a Wikki Stix for the center line of a domino. Pass out one of the Wikki Stix created dominoes (from the activity above) and invite the children to make additional Wikki Stix balls or spirals to recreate the number of dots on the paper. As the children gain skills in creating and counting numbers of dots, they can begin to add the sides of the domino together (see photo above).

Domino Multiplication for Early Childhood Math

For older children: the children can practice multiplication/division skills with the Wikki Stix created dominoes. For division, the larger number on the domino would be used first (example: 4 /2 = 2).

Domino Literacy for Early Childhood Education

Domino Literacy Extension Activities

  • Create upper or lowercase letters on the Wikki Stix dominoes for a matching activity.
  • Create word families or sight words on the Wikki Stix dominoes.

Using Wikki Stix with math is FUN for the kids, but it also allows for the additional tactile layer that enhances learning. Involving our kids in the creating process allowed them to integrate basic math (and literacy) skills as we played with our own crafted domino set!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

For more Wikki Stix Math Activities with Dots – see 5 and Ten Frame activities here!
For an entire early math lesson plan click here!
For a printable ENGINE for the domino trains click here!

About the Author:
Darla Hutson is co-founder of The Preschool Toolbox. She has taught children (infant to age 7) at home for the past 30 years. Darla writes primarily at The Preschool Toolbox Blog offering activities and early childhood curriculum for playful learning.

Jul
01

Wikki Stix Patriotic Ojo de Dios (God’s Eye) Craft for Kids!

History of the Ojo de Dios (pronounced “oh-ho-day-dee-ohs”): The Ojos de Dios (commonly known as the God’s Eye) were originally crafted by the Huichol Indians in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico. The God’s eyes were created from two crossed sticks with fibers woven around the center and outward. The 4 stick points symbolized: earth, air, fire, and water. According to tradition, a father would make the craft upon the birth of a child. For each year of life (up to age 5), the father would weave a new “eye” or section of the craft. The craft represented a special prayer that “God’s Eye” would watch over the child and bring health, wealth, and a long life. As a symbol of Patriotism, the Ojo de Dios craft is a wonderful way to represent God’s watchful eye over our great Nation!

Wikki Stix is the perfect weaving material for the Ojo de Dios! The Wikki Stix will adhere to the sticks making glue unnecessary while simplifying the weaving process for kids!
Wikki Stix Patriotic Ojo de Dios (God’s Eye) Craft for Kids!
Wikki Stix Patriotic Ojo de Dios (God’s Eye) Craft for Kids!
Materials needed: two sticks (paper or plastic straws, real sticks, or craft sticks) and assorted Wikki Stix.
Patriotic Ojo de Dios (God’s Eye) Craft for Kids!

To make the God’s Eye:

  1. Choose two sticks and make an intersection that forms a cross (+).
  2. Begin securing the sticks by wrapping the Wikki Stix around the intersection. Secure the end of a Wikki Stix behind any one stick (straw). Wrap from underneath and over that stick toward the next stick. The wrapping pattern is over, underneath, and over to the next stick. Remind the children to wrap tightly around all 4 sticks. Children may need assistance in beginning the craft and learning the basic wrapping pattern. The same weaving pattern remains throughout the craft. Once the children understand the pattern, it will be easy for them to complete the craft. (see video below for assistance).
  3. Super Wikki Stix work better for this craft than regular Wikki Stix, but regular ones can be used (see video below).
    Insert Wikki Stix New Eye Picture here
  4. To create a new “eye” for the craft, just have the children stop at the end of one color and begin again with a new color of Wikki Stix.
  5. When finished wrapping, simply press the end of the Wikki Stix behind the craft. The Wikki Stix will adhere to each other so there is no need to “knot” the Wikki Stix end.

The Wikki Stix Ojo de Dios crafts make great displays at home or in the classroom for Patriotic holidays (or any holiday). If you reside outside of the United States, choose colors that will represent your own nation for special events or holidays. If you know of someone who has recently had a baby, the craft is a wonderful gift that children can give! May “God’s Eye” watch over our nations and our children for peace and prosperity!

Jun
23

Roaring into the Summer with Wikki Stix Dinosaur Activities for Preschool!

Preschoolers are fascinated by DINOSAURS! This summer, help encourage playful learning with Wikki Stix Dinosaur Activities designed just for preschool!

Roaring into the Summer with Wikki Stix Dinosaur Activities for Preschool

Introduction to the Dinosaur Activities:
How do we know that Dinosaurs once lived on our Earth? Scientists have discovered fossils that tell us dinosaurs once lived on our Earth. Explain to the children that fossils are parts of a plant or animal (dinosaur) that are found in rocks or in the ground.

Read the book “What Happened to the Dinosaurs” by B. Most. There are no more dinosaurs left on our Earth because they are EXTINCT (ALL GONE)! Expand on the concept of extinct by asking the following questions. Would a real dinosaur come to your house or to school? Why not? Would a real dinosaur show up at the mall or the grocery store? Why not?

Other questions to explore with the children:
How big were the dinosaurs? Some dinosaurs were bigger than a HOUSE! What did dinosaurs EAT? Some dinosaurs liked to eat MEAT (other animals or smaller/weaker dinosaurs) and some dinosaurs ate only PLANTS. Help the children make a list of the kinds of dinosaurs that were plant-eaters and those that were meat-eaters.

The T-REX (Tyrannosaurus Rex) was called KING of the dinosaurs. He was a meat eater and very strong and fierce. Sing the following action song with the children as they stomp around the room:

Dino Ditty (to the tune of “Do Wah Ditty”)
The T-Rex comes just a stomping down the street singing,
Dino Ditty, Ditty Dum, Ditty Dum;
Looking all around for something good to eat singing,
Dino Ditty, Ditty Dum, Ditty Dum;
He’s HUGE (He’s HUGE – children can echo this part), He’s STRONG (He’s STRONG – children can echo this part);
He’s HUGE, He’s STRONG, he won’t be HUNGRY very long.
Dino Ditty, Ditty Dum, Ditty Dum,
Dino Ditty, Ditty Dum, Ditty Dum, HEY!
~Original Author Unknown

Dinosaur Measuring
Non-Standard Dinosaur Measurement with Wikki Stix

Materials needed: Super Wikki Stix (best for this activity, but standard Wikki Stix can be used), scissors, and an assortment of large and small toy dinosaurs.

Set out the dinosaurs on the floor and have the children sort them by height and length. Which dinosaur is taller, smaller, shorter, or longer? Older children can cut Super Wikki Stix strands that are the length or height of the dinosaurs being used. Younger children may need help in cutting the Wikki Stix at the appropriate lengths. This activity is also a great way for younger and older children to work together in order to complete a task. Who is going to hold the Wikki Stix? Who is going to cut the Wikki Stix?

Extension Activity #1: Make a display board with the strings of various sizes to reinforce the concepts of small/large and/or short and long.

Extension Activity #2: Use regular 4 regular Wikki Stix strands. Cut each strand into four equal sections (fold the Wikki Stix in half and cut two sections – repeat). Invite the children to use the Wikki Stix pieces for non-standard measuring practice. How many pieces of Wikki Stix will it take to measure the length of the dinosaur? How many pieces of Wikki Stix to measure how tall the dinosaur is? If desired, record how long/tall each of the dinosaurs are on a separate sheet of paper.

Wikki Stix Dino Game, Roll Count Create

Download the Dinosaur Roll, Count, and Create Math Game PDF here

Materials needed: Two dice (limit to one die for younger children), one game file (linked above) per child, and green, purple, red, and blue Wikki Stix (pre-cut in half and set aside). To reuse the game: laminate the game file or cover with clear contact paper.

Have the children roll two dice, count the number of dots, and find that number on the game board. The children should say the name of the shape indicated by the number on the board and then CREATE the shape with Wikki Stix to cover that number. The game is over when all the shapes have been created with Wikki Stix. Note: If using two dice, the number ONE will not be covered.
For younger children: Only use one die and focus on only the numbers 1-6 and the corresponding shapes.

Alternate Suggestion: Focus on only ODD or EVEN numbers and have the children create only the shapes that correspond to the ODD rolls or the EVEN rolls.

Dinosaur Footprint Rubbings Craft activity for Kids
Wikki Stix Dinosaur Footprint Rubbings

To make the DIY rubbing plates: have the children trace around a toy dinosaur foot with Wikki Stix (or create their own version of a dinosaur’s footprint) on a blank sheet of paper.

Invite the children to lay another sheet of paper over the Wikki Stix created dinosaur footprints and rub across the sheet with a crayon (take the paper off of a crayon and demonstrate for the children how to make a rubbing by laying the crayon flat against the paper). Note: if the paper tends to slide, put both sheets on a clipboard to make it easier for the children.

Young children think it is almost “magical” to watch the image appear. It’s a fun fine motor craft to do a dinosaur theme.

Help your children ROAR into a summer of playful learning with Wikki Stix and Dinosaurs! The skills they garner will last long after the activities are over!

You might also like the Wikki Stix Dinosaur Fun Kit!

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