Helping preschoolers learn through play is vital to healthy development! By offering playful learning opportunities with Wikki Stix, parents and teachers of young children can engage young kids in FUN activities to help develop and enhance emerging skills!

## ORDERING NUMBERS WITH WIKKI STIX

Materials needed: Assorted Colors of Wikki Stix and scissors.

Skills presented: Scissor practice, fine motor, scissor skills, number recognition, and ordering a number line.

Invite the children to play by assembling scissors and the assorted colors of Wikki Stix on a large tray or a table. Demonstrate for the children how to make a fish design from one Wikki Stix: have the children form an X from the two ends of one Wikki Stix. The ends of the X will form the tail and the top portion will make the oval for the fish’s body (see photo above.) Push each end of the X in and toward the center to form the tail. Invite the children to make 10 Wikki Stix fish to create a “fishy number line!”

Using the scissors, have the children cut Wikki Stix in half or into thirds. Wikki Stix can be cut with safety scissors and will enhance scissor skills by allowing young children to practice cutting textures other than paper. With the cut pieces, invite the children to create the numbers 1-10 and press the numbers onto each of the 10 Wikki Stix fish designs created above.

Playful Learning Activities:

• Put all the numbered fish out on a table in random order. Invite the children to begin with the number 1 and place the ten fish in correct numerical order. For younger children, work with the numbers 1-5 only until they are successful ordering just 5 numbers.
• Invite the children to learn the rhyme below and hold up the numbered fish that corresponds to the number in the rhyme as it is chanted. If desired, place each of the created Wikki Stix fish onto a craft stick for an instant stick puppet for the rhyme.

5 Little Fishes
5 little fishes swimming in a pool,
The 1st one said, “The pool is cool.”
The 2nd one said, “The pool is deep.”
The 3rd one said, “I’d like to sleep.”
The 4th one said, “I’ll float and dip.”
The 5th one said, “I see a ship!”
The fishing boat comes. The line goes splash. All the little fishes swim away in a flash!
~Original Author Unknown

## WIKKI STIX CLOTHESPIN FISH for GREATER THAN or LESS THAN?

Skills presented: hand-eye coordination, fine motor, number recognition, greater than or less than.

Once children have had practice with the number line, they will begin to recognize that some numbers are smaller or larger than other numbers. Practicing with the concepts of greater than or less than will help reinforce basic number concepts.

Materials needed: Assorted Colors of Wikki Stix, scissors, and 2 spring-type clothespin per child.
To make the Wikki Stix clothespin fish: Create a Wikki Stix fish outline per the instructions in the first section above. The children can use additional Wikki Stix to trace inside the original fish outline until the fish is completely filled in. The fish eyes are created with small cut pieces of white and black Wikki Stix. When finished, have the children cut the mouth opening with scissors (younger children may need assistance).

The fish can then be pressed onto the clothespin to create a fish character for playful learning about greater than or less than. If desired, the children can wrap additional Wikki Stix around the clothespin as it aids with grip when opening and closing the fish for the activity below.

Playful Learning Activity:
Make a basic fish number line (as in the activity above) for the children. Begin with the numbers 1-5. Have the children to open the clothespin fish to practice catching the fish with numbers that are BIGGER than number one. As the children gain confidence with greater than or less than, select two random numbers (1-10) and invite the children to open the clothespin fish to indicate which number is greater than or less than the chosen numbers. Remind the children that the MOUTH of the fish will always open toward the number that is LARGER than another number.

## WIKKI STIX FISHY NAMES

Skills presented: hand-eye coordination, fine motor, scissor skills, letter and name recognition.

Preschoolers can use the Wikki Stix fish creations to enhance letter and name recognition skills, too! Instead of adding Wikki Stix created numbers to the basic fish outlines, the children can cut Wikki Stix and form the letters in their own names.

Playful Learning Activity:
Stand the fishy letters up in random order on a table or a piece of paper. Using the Wikki Stix clothespin fish (created above) invite the children “eat” the letters of their name in the correct order. It’s not only a fun activity for encouraging fine motor and hand-eye coordination, but a playful way to encourage name and letter recognition.

The fishy names also make a great seasonal display at home or in the classroom!

For more FUN ways to incorporate playful learning with Wikki Stix, please visit:
Counting Fishy Oxygen Bubbles for Early Math
The Rainbow Fish and Wikki Stix
Pac-Mac More Than, Less Than, or Equal To
Touch Math Using Wikki Stix