Knowledge of shapes is one of the earliest educational processes that kids are exposed to.  Kids use visual information about shapes to discriminate between objects and to learn about the world around them.  The Wikki Stix building activity not only helps kids observe and compare various shapes, but it challenges children to integrate basic shape knowledge into a hands-on activity that encourages higher level thinking.

Wikki Stix Shapes Building Challenge for Kids!

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is used as a foundation for building inquiry and problem solving into daily learning and routines with kids. Using Wikki Stix with children is not only playful and fun, but the early formulation of shapes and designs help encourage inquiry and problem solving skills through creative expression.

Materials needed:

• Wikki Stix
• Paper Straws
• Scissors
• Ruler (for older children)

Building Challenges Objectives:  To encourage kids to use critical thinking skills and creativity to solve a problem.  Skills presented in the building challenge:

• Estimation
• Same/Different
• Fine Motor
• Measurement
• Number concepts for creation of the shapes
• Relationships between the shapes
• Sensory (Tactile and Visual)
• Connections with familiar and new shape knowledge
• Creative Expression
• Inquiry and Problem solving

## BUILDING INQUIRY:  What shapes can the children design using just Wikki Stix and paper straws?

The shapes building challenge can be modified for kids of various ages.  For younger children, invite the kids to practice threading Wikki Stix through cut pieces of paper straws before starting the shapes building activity.  Threading is a wonderful way to encourage early fine motor skills!

Place all supplies out on a table as an invitation for the kids to create and play.  For younger children, measure and cut paper straws into equal sections prior to the building activity.  Older children can measure and cut the straws independently according to the shapes they desire to make.

It is exciting to observe kids engaged in creating, measuring, and formulating ideas about various shape designs!

In the photo above, kids chose to create an 8-sided octagon and a 4-sided square.

To create circles and ovals, the kids tried various designs.  To make a circle, the kids decided to thread a Wikki Stix through the straw, flatten the straw(s) with the Wikki Stix inside, and then form the desired shapes.

Older children can design even more advanced structures using the created Wikki Stix and straw shapes!  It’s truly amazing to watch kids create and play!

Gather some Wikki Stix this summer for creative and playful learning at home, at camp, on vacation, in the classroom, or in childcare!  For more ways to encourage problem solving skills through play, please visit:

Beyond Memorization:  Activities to Promote Critical Thinking with Wikki Stix

Open-Ended Engineering in Early Childhood