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Nov
04

FROM FARM to CLOTHING: The Growing Cycle of a Cotton Plant

Cotton is grown in the southern portions of the United States. Many children have not had the opportunity to see a real cotton plant. The lesson below will concentrate on creating the structural parts of a cotton plant and exploring the importance of cotton. This lesson plan is designed for elementary students but can be adapted for Pre-K children.

Objective: In this lesson children will create and explore the growing cycle of a cotton plant. Children will investigate how the cotton plant changes over time to produce the cotton fibers that are used in clothing.

FROM FARM to CLOTHING:  The Growing Cycle of a Cotton Plant

Materials Needed:

Background Information
Cotton is planted in rows during the spring. In approximately two months, flowers emerge from the buds on the cotton plant. After the flowers die, they leave pods called bolls. When the bolls ripen and open, the fluffy cotton fibers can be seen on the mature cotton plant. Cotton is then harvested, cleaned, and the fibers are sent to manufacturers to be sewn into clothing. Cotton is used more than any other fiber in the world. Cotton fibers are sewn into many items from towels to T-Shirts.

Read the book, From Cotton to T-Shirt by Robin Nelson to all of the children. It is a fascinating book that guides children through the steps from cotton to manufacturing.
Cotton Growing Cycle
Creating the Wikki Stix Cotton Growing Cycle
Set out the various colors of Wikki Stix and scissors on a table as an invitation for the children to create. Print the life cycle templates (separate download) for each of the children and review the cotton growing cycle from seed planted in the soil to the mature cotton plant. Note: make a model of the growing cycle in advance of the lesson for the children to view.

Order of the Cotton Life Cyle:

  • Seed – brown Wikki Stix
  • Bud – brown and green Wikki Stix
  • Flower – white or white/pink Wikki Stix
  • Cotton Boll – black and brown Wikki Stix

Mature Cotton Plant – black/brown/white Wikki Stix
To create each of the structural parts of the cotton plant, the children can use the printable templates if desired. Invite the children to outline each cotton part with Wikki Stix. The Wikki Stix outlines will lift from the paper once the children are finished creating. Note: to re-use the templates, laminate the paper before outlining the cotton parts with Wikki Stix.
Younger children may wish to only trace the template with Wikki Stix; older children may want to fill in the template with Wikki Stix or create more complex designs (see photo above). By using Wikki Stix to create the cotton parts, students will gain fine motor control and, generally, enhance the learning process.

To create the mature cotton plant:
Invite the children to use white Wikki Stix to create 4 round “cotton” balls. The cotton boll opens to expose the white cotton inside as the plant matures. The children can create black/brown boll parts and place them under the created white Wikki Stix “cotton” balls.
Place the create cotton on a black plant stem for the final phase of the cotton growing cycle.
Remind the children that a growing cycle repeats itself. The cotton seeds fall (or are dispersed by animals or humans) and the cycle begins anew.

Cotton Growing Cycle Model
Invite the students to demonstrate how the Wikki Stix created model shows the cotton growing cycle.
The children can attach all of the created structural parts of the cotton growing cycle to additional strands of Wikki Stix. No glue or tape will be necessary. The children can arrange the growing cycle in a circle (as in the photo above) or place the cotton parts in a line to show the progression from seed->leaf->bud->flower->boll-> to mature cotton plant. Print the Cotton Growing Cycle Labels (separate download), have the children cut out the labels, and stick the labels to each of the created structural parts.

Extension Activities:

  • Invite the children to research the states that grow cotton. Do they live in a state that produces cotton or have a relative that does?
  • Have the children looks at the tags on clothing. Is the item made with cotton? Most items the children wear will be made with cotton (along with other fibers).

Oct
27

Wikki Stix Owl Life Cycle, Sequencing Cards and Crafts for Kids!

Owls are amazing birds! They are best known for their high-pitched screeches (calls), their silent flight, and nocturnal hunting habits. Along with bats and spiders, owls are a commonly associated with Halloween. Come learn about the owl’s life cycle and create easy Wikki Stix owl crafts that can be enjoyed throughout the year!

Wikki Stix Owl Life Cycle, Sequencing Cards and Crafts for Kids!

WIKKI STIX OWL LIFE CYCLE for KIDS
Learning about the life cycle of an owl is a great science exploration for kids! Creating an owl life cycle with Wikki Stix will make learning interesting, but it will also encourage creativity and fine motor skills!
• The female owl lays the eggs in a nest – usually between 5 and 8 eggs are laid by the mother.
• After approximately 35 days, the eggs hatch.
• A young owl is called an owlet.
• Adult owls live, on average, 35 years.

Materials needed for the Wikki Stix Owl Life Cycle Craft: White/Yellow/Brown/Black/Orange Wikki Stix, scissors, and mounting paper (any color).

Invite the children to divide the paper into four equal sections using two strands of Wikki Stix. The owl life cycle begins in the upper left hand corner. The kids can cut pieces of brown or yellow Wikki Stix to make a nest. The eggs are created from white Wikki Stix balls or spirals.

In the upper right hand corner, the children can make an egg shape from white Wikki Stix spirals (our kids used 2 white Wikki Stix for the 2 eggs). The children can use brown or black Wikki Stix to create the “crack in the egg.” If desired, the children can add yellow eyes or other features to the “hatchling” stage of the life cycle.

The owlet is created and placed in the lower right hand corner of the life cycle. The young owl is created with a brown Wikki Stix background, yellow spiraled eyes (with black centers from Wikki Stix balls), and an orange triangle beak. There is no wrong or right way to create the owlet! Let the kids create and explore design with their Wikki Stix. It’s fun to see all the different owlet designs the children make!

The adult owl is created from a large brown Wikki Stix spiral (owl’s body), yellow eyes/black center, an orange beak, and orange Wikki Stix talons (see photo above).
Insert Owl Life Cycle Sequencing Cards Photo here

OWL LIFE CYCLE SEQUENCING CARDS
For more owl life cycle practice, download and print the sequencing cards (linked here – Download owl life cycle cards PDF file here) and have the children cut out each card. Laminate the cards or cover with clear contact paper for durability.

Lay the cards face down on a table or on the floor. Invite the children to choose a card and place it in the correct life cycle order in the blank boxes.

Extension Activity: Print two copies of the cards and invite the children to play a matching game. Lay all the cards out (face down) on a table or the floor. Have the children choose two cards at a time to try to locate a matching pair. If a pair in not found, the cards are turned face down again. Play continues until all the matching cards are located.

WIKKI STIX OWL CRAFTS for Kids to CREATE

Cardboard Tube Owl Craft

CARDBOARD TUBE OWLS
Materials needed: one cardboard tube per craft, yellow construction paper, scissors, a stapler, and yellow/brown/black/orange Wikki Stix.

Have the children cover the cardboard tube with yellow construction paper and staple in place. At the top of the tube, fold one side in toward the middle of the tube. The opposite side can then be folded toward the center to create the owl “ears.”

The owl’s body is decorated with cut pieces of brown Wikki Stix. Invite the children to cut various lengths of brown Wikki Stix and press them onto the yellow cardboard tube. The Wikki Stix create a great textured look to the owl craft! The eyes of the owl are created with 3 yellow Wikki Stix wrapped around to form a large yellow spirals with black Wikki Stix balls for the centers.

The talons and beak are created with orange Wikki Stix. The children can create the owl’s talons with cut pieces of orange Wikki Stix pressed slightly under the cardboard tube. The children can make a triangle or a diamond-shaped beak from orange Wikki Stix.

WS Paper Bag Owl

Wikki Stix Paper Bag Owl Craft for Kids

The paper bag owls are an EASY and FUN craft to make with kids!

Materials needed: brown lunch sacks (two per owl craft), brown/yellow/black/orange Wikki Stix, and scissors.

Give each child two paper lunch sacks. Have the children scrunch one of the lunch sacks into a ball and place it inside the other sack. The children can wrap a brown Wikki Stix around the bag (just under the filler material) and twist the Wikki Stix closed (see photo above).

Invite the children to make yellow/black owl eyes, an orange beak, and orange talons for the paper bag craft from Wikki Stix (see the cardboard tube craft above for instructions).
The paper bags owls make wonderful owl crafts to display at home or in the classroom!
Paper Plate Owl Craft

Wikki Stix Paper Plate Owl Craft for Kids
Materials needed: one paper plate (per craft), assorted colors of Wikki Stix, and scissors.

Give each child a paper plate. The children can fold each side of the paper plate toward the center and crease the fold to make the “wings” for the owl. The top of the paper plate can then be folded down to create the owl’s head (see photo below).

Paper Plate Folding

Once the paper plate is folded, the children can decorate the owl’s wings and bodies with Wikki Stix. Very young kids will need assistance folding the plate, but they can decorate with plate with Wikki Stix and make the craft their own! It’s amazing to see all the wonderful owls the kids create with Wikki Stix!

The owl’s eyes, beak, and talons can be created per instructions under the Cardboard Tube Owl Craft above, if desired.

The paper plate owl crafts are fun, open-ended crafts that allow the kids to express themselves through the patterns and colors of Wikki Stix they choose to create with!

For MORE FALL fun with Wikki Stix, see the BEST OF FALL for CREATING and LEARNING!

Oct
20

Excuses to Sing, Dance, Laugh, Cry, shout…or eat chocolate!

By Kem Clark, president of the Wikki Stix Co.

Finding something to sing, dance and laugh about in this crazy world… is a bit of a challenge. Lots more things make me want to shout and eat chocolate. So much so that I now rate the evening news not by importance of each feature, but by weight! Was than a ten-lb. story or only 2 lbs. of depressing news.

Here’s an excuse to SHOUT! Black Friday. It’s not until next month, but here is some good planning info. Black Friday is when large electronics are a good buy! Traditionally, this is when the Big Box stores and electronic specialty stores put their showstoppers on sale. So it might be worthwhile to sit on your hands until then tobuy that ginormous TV!

And don’t forget us on Black Friday. We always have fun specials, and you can shop on our website in your pajamas. No standing in line at 2am!

Oct. 21st is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day…let’s just make it National Everything Pumpkin Day!! Yes, that’s better.

October 22 is National Nut Day. I know quite a few… and bet you do, too!

And… the fourth Saturday of the month, Oct 25th, is National Make a Difference Day. Lots of things all of us can do, from helping major organizations with some hands-on involvement, to simply raking leaves for an elderly neighbor.

Be Safe.  Have Fun!  Happy Halloween!!

Be Safe. Have Fun! Happy Halloween!!

Oct
20

Wikki Stix Mixed Media Art for Kids: Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

Sunflowers are majestic flowers; they tower above other flowers as if to create a heavenly presence. Vincent Van Gogh was fond of sunflowers and painted many versions of sunflowers. Van Gogh indicated in a letter to his brother (Theo) that “the sunflower is mine.” To Vincent, the sunflower expressed a form of gratitude in his world. Exposing kids to famous artists and their masterpieces will help encourage creativity and a lasting love of art! Come learn about Vincent Van Gogh and create a Wikki Stix Mixed Media Sunflower Craft with us!

Wikki Stix Mixed Media Art for Kids:  Van Gogh’s Sunflowers
Photo Credit: http://www.vggallery.com/painting/p_0455.htm

VINCENT VAN GOGH – SUNFLOWERS
Exploring Van Gogh with children is sometimes challenging. It is not necessary to share about Vincent’s mental illness with children. The purpose is to expose children to the joy of art and those that create it; to plant the seeds for a love of art that will grow as they do.

Vincent Van Gogh was born in 1853 and grew up in Holland. Show the children on world map where Holland is located in relation to where they live. Vincent studied to be a minister, but found his passion for painting. Vincent changed the way he painted pictures as he grew. Eventually he began painting things around him with more colors, thick paint, and bold brush strokes (like in his Sunflowers painting pictured above). Today, Vincent Van Gogh is considered one of the world’s greatest artists. The Sunflowers paintings are his beloved masterpieces!

Invite the children to look at a photograph of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting. Encourage the children to share what they see: golden sunflowers, a wilting sunflower, a dark green flower and leaves. Ask the children what colors they can find in the painting. Vincent’s use of thick paint, bold brush strokes, and the rustic sunflower colors are indicative of the way he painted in his later years. Ask the children if they LIKE the painting. Remind the children that it is OK not to like an artist’s work, but we must be respectful of the artist (person) when we make comments.

Wikki Stix Mixed Media Art for Kids:  Van Gogh’s Sunflowers
Wikki Stix Mixed Media SUNFLOWERS Craft for Kids!
Mixed media collages provide wonderful sensory opportunities for kids to create art.
Materials needed: yellow/orange/blue/green tempera paint, paper plates or paint trays, smocks (or an old T-shirt to protect clothing), white heavy paper, orange/brown clay or playdough, scissors, napkins or paper towels, permanent marker, ruler, and orange/purple/yellow/gold/brown/red/green Wikki Stix.

Prior to the craft: the kids can use a ruler and a permanent marker to draw a straight line across the white paper (approximately two-thirds of the way down – see photo above).

Assemble all the materials on a table as an invitation for the kids to create. Mix the yellow and orange paint on a paper plate to create a more rustic golden color. Mix the blue and green to create a teal color.

The kids can use napkins or paper towels to paint the white paper – (teal on top/gold below the line). If the kids “blot” the paper with the paper towels it will create a textured look on the background colors.

Sunflowers Paint

Allow the paint to thoroughly dry before adding the other mixed media elements.

Invite the children to use brown Wikki Stix to create an outline for the vase after the paint has dried. Any shape of vase is perfect! Remind younger children that their collages do NOT have to look exactly alike. The JOY of art is the individual expression (even Van Gogh changed the way he painted as he grew and learned different techniques). When the children have created a Wikki Stix vase for their collage, have them fill in the Wikki Stix vase outline with playdough or clay.

To create the Wikki Stix sunflowers: the children should cut pieces of all the different colors of Wikki Stix with their scissors. It doesn’t matter how long or short the pieces are cut as each sunflower should be unique. Wikki Stix can be cut with safety scissors, but younger children may need assistance.

The children can then take the cut pieces of Wikki Stix and make a circular design (flower) by joining the ends of the pieces in the center. When the pieces are joined, the children can press a brown Wikki Stix ball or spiral to the center of their flower (see photo below).

To create the stem: twist two strand of green Wikki Stix together and press to the back side of the sunflower.
Wikki Stix Sunflowers

Print a copy of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting for the children to look at as they create their own collage.
Sunflower Mixed Media Craft with Wikki Stix

The children can create as many (or few) Wikki Stix sunflowers as they desire for their mixed media collage. The Wikki Stix will stick to the painted paper without the need for glue or tape.
We hope your own kids enjoy learning and creating their own mixed media masterpieces with Wikki Stix!

A brief history of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers:

For more ways to create art with Wikki Stix, see Wikki Stix Mandalas and Radial Symmetry!

Oct
13

Wikki Stix Halloween Crafts for Kids!

Wikki Stix Halloween Crafts for Kids!

With just a few simple supplies, kids can make fun Wikki Stix Halloween crafts for pretend play, Halloween parties, and displays at home or in the classroom! Gather crafts sticks, Wikki Stix, and scissors to create the mummy, a jack-o-lantern, the 3-eyed monster, and a funny Frankenstein this Halloween!

Wikki Stix Jack-O-Lantern

Wikki Stix Jack-O-Lantern Craft
Materials needed: 4 craft (Popsicle) sticks, scissors, and orange/green/black Wikki Stix.

Invite the children to create by placing the supplies out on a table or a large tray. The jack-o-lantern is created by wrapping orange Wikki Stix around each of the 4 craft sticks. When the children are finished wrapping the craft sticks, press the 4 wrapped craft sticks together (since the Wikki Stix stick to each other the craft sticks will stay together). The kids can then use green Wikki Stix to create a top or stem for the jack-o-lantern. The kids will need scissors to create the facial features for the jack-o-lantern. Have the children cut one Wikki Stix into four equal sections. Each section can then be used to make a small triangle for the eyes and nose. The children may wish to use the last section to create a mouth for the jack-o-lantern or design a mouth of their own. Use a separate Wikki Stix to create a hanger for the craft to display at home or in the classroom!

Wikki Stix Frankenstein

Wikki Stix Frankenstein Craft
Materials needed: 4 craft (Popsicle) sticks, green or neon colored Wikki Stix/black Wikki Stix, and scissors.

The Frankenstein craft is created in a similar fashion to the jack-o-lantern above. Invite the kids to wrap the green (or neon) Wikki Stix around each of the craft sticks and press them together when finished wrapping. The hair for Frankenstein is created with black Wikki Stix. The kids can cut small black pieces for the hair and stick the black pieces on top of the green Wikki Stix. The “scars” are created with small cut pieces of black Wikki Stix (see photo above). For the eyes: the children can use small black Wikki Stix spirals or shape cut pieces of Wikki Stix into small balls. The Frankenstein craft can include a happy, sad, scary, or mad face as the children desire! A separate Wikki Stix can be used to make a hanger for a Frankenstein decoration at Halloween!

3-Eyed Monster

Wikki Stix 3-Eyed Monster Craft
Materials needed: one craft (Popsicle) stick, green, white, and black Wikki Stix, and scissors.

The 3-eyed monster craft is a simple craft that even very young kids can create! Have the children wrap one craft stick with green Wikki Stix (wrapping the craft stick is great for fine motor skills, too)! The eyes for the monster are made from cut pieces of white and black Wikki Stix. Have the children shape the white Wikki Stix pieces into 3 balls and place them anywhere on the monster craft. Smaller black pieces of Wikki Stix can be placed on top of the white balls to finish the monster’s eyes. The monster craft can have as many or few eyes as the children want.

Wikki Stix Mummy Craft

Wikki Stix Mummy Craft
Materials needed: 3 craft (Popsicle) sticks, white and black Wikki Stix, and scissors.

Prior to creating the mummy: break/cut (adult only) ONE of the craft stick in half.

Using the white Wikki Stix, have the children wrap all of the craft sticks (including the 2 halves). When finished wrapping the craft sticks, the 2 halves are used as the mummy’s arms. The arms can be placed behind the mummy’s body and positioned however the children want. If desired, additional white Wikki Stix can be wrapped to create an X to secure the arms. (Note: If the children will only be displaying the mummies, it isn’t necessary. If the children wish to pretend play with them, the addition of the Wikki Stix X to secure the arms make the craft more durable – see photo above).

The second leg for the mummy can also be positioned as desired and attached behind the center of the mummy craft. The dark mask for the mummy is created from ¼ strand of black Wikki Stix spiraled around itself to create a small oval. Small white Wikki Stix eyes are then placed on top. Again, the children can create any kind of mouth for their mummies that they desire.
The Wikki Stix Halloween crafts are not only fun to make, but they make great gifts and displays for October, too!

For more Wikki Stix Halloween Ideas, see the spiderweb, bat, and candy corn crafts!

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