For many years, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) has been promoted in the early childhood field. STEM is used as a foundation for building inquiry and problem solving into everyday learning and routines with young children. Using Wikki Stix with young learners is not only playful and fun, but the designs and constructions help encourage inquiry and problem solving skills through creative expression.

Using Wikki Stix for construction is an open-ended activity that promotes critical thinking and application skills in early childhood. While children’s designs and constructions may be dismissed by some as simple child’s play, there are many elements that must go into creations:

• What will I build?
• What shapes will I use?
• Do I have a mental plan on how to construct it?
• Does that plan work when I try it?
• How can I modify or improve the construction?

Did the construction work out the way I intended it to?

To encourage young children to design and create, set out a variety of Wikki Stix colors on a table or tray. Wikki Stix can be cut with safety scissors, but for very young children pre-cut each Wikki Stix strand into fourths prior to the activities.

Problem: What Wikki Stix creation could the children make using only Wikki Stix triangles?
In small groups, the children experimented with the idea and tried many different arrangements of triangles. The children asked questions of each other and learned to deal with different emotions as they worked together to create. Alas, one group of children designed the pyramid in the photo above.

Another group of children chose to create a hexagon pattern from triangles! The group cut Wikki Stix strands into fourths and connected each of the smaller strands to Wikki Stix ball-shaped connectors.

That same group shared some of the Wikki Stix ball connectors with 3 year olds. Although not a triangle, two children constructed the shape below!

After several days of practicing with triangles, a group of 5 year olds constructed this 3-D pyramid.

The pyramid above was not an easy task! In creating the pyramid, the children used the following skills:

• Estimation
• Number concepts for creation of the triangles
• Weight, height, and balance of the pyramid
• Relationships between the shapes
• Fine Motor
• Team work
• Creative Expression
• Inquiry and Problem solving

Offering young children opportunities to inquire, explore, design, problem solve, and create with Wikki Stix will enhance important critical thinking skills! What will your own children create with Wikki Stix today?