Contributed from our friends at Oakland County Moms.
Activity Set Review by Lisa LaGrou
Included in the package was a variety of information about the creative activities and variations of Wikki Stix play sets. Also included in the information package on Wikki Stix were the claims and uses for Wikki Stix for Occupational Therapists and Facilitators. I became intrigued with the colorful toys as a means to help develop fine motor skills of special needs children. Particularly, the opportunity to enhance fine motor skill coordination in children on the Autism Spectrum.
In the past, I’ve chronicled some of the claims and concerns I have regarding “Autism Toys” in my Autism Diary. To summarize that column… I’ve found that a “good” Autism Toy is one that facilitates learning through communication with a parent or therapist during play and not a toy “that blinks so Autistic kids enjoy it.” In regards to Wikki Stix, I find that this toy could be a nice asset to helping children with special needs increase their fine motor skills.
See “how to” video Demontrations of Wikki Stix.
Wikki Stix are multi-colored yarn sticks dipped in a non-toxic wax that makes the yarn extremely pliable. Sounds simple, right? Like most good toys, they are. The simplistic Wikki Stix are pretty addictive. I find myself picking them up and making different shapes with them myself. The stix can be cut and shaped to any design or configuration under the sun and is a creative tool for young artists.
The Wikki Stix Activity Set that was sent to me features 84 different colored 8 inch Wikki Stix and a 12 x 8 inch white board your child can press the sticks onto. Wikki Stix are re-usable and don’t leave a mess. Cleanup is simply pulling the stix off of the board and straightening them out. There is a multitude of different packages of Wikki Stix and boards available to order ranging from tiny packs of 24 Wikki Stix all the way to 600 count packs of Wikki Stix for bulk ordering or educators. Click here to see all Wikki Stix products.
From an Autism, Aspberger’s Syndrome or similar special needs category, I feel Wikki Stix fit the bill as a creative, fun toy that promotes enhancement of fine motor skills. I think a special needs child would particularly benefit if the child functions well verbally and can comprehend basic instruction from an educator or facilitator. The pliable Wikki Stix are very easy to bend yet require a little dexterity to form the perfect shape. I like how it takes a bit of finger strength to apply the Wikki Stix to the adhesive board. If an Occupational Therapist, Facilitator or parent provides a child with specific requests and instructions, the child will be challenged positively to make the requested shapes or designs. The ability of the child to easily make “artwork” with Wikki Stix is a huge bonus. The waxed yarn stix should provide some positive sensory stimulation as well. While Wikki Stix are “safe and non-toxic,” I would still recommend supervised play. Wikki Stix can be cut (but not torn) into smaller pieces that could easily be swallowed or present a possible choking hazard. Even without safety concerns, this Autism Toy is best utilized for Autism Spectrum children with interaction and attention.
The manufacturers are obviously trying to market their Wikki Stix to the broadest market possible. In that regard, I appreciate the efforts to market to the Autism Spectrum community. The reality is that Wikki Stix can be enjoyed by any artistically inclined child, and are a great confidence booster for the child who is not so artistically inclined. Even if you simply want to keep kids occupied while in a waiting room or at a booth in a restaurant, Wikki Stix are a neat toy to have in your purse. They’re very easy to carry around and won’t make a mess. My children adore them.
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