Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Learning with Craft Sticks!

One of my favorite classroom resources are Popsicle sticks, or commonly found in the store as craft sticks. You can find them in "plain" color or colored sticks, AND in multiple sizes. Not only are they very useful for an endless amount of crafts, but there are so many ways you can incorporate them into learning in your classroom by making them part of your manipulatives!

As a teacher of little guys I'm always embedding learning into play. It's like sneaking vegetables into your toddlers food. They have no idea. (Most of the time- ha!)

I first saw the idea of placing velcro dots on the ends of craft sticks for a STEM activity. Students use the sticks for building, etc. As my students were using these I started suggesting to them, well, let's try and see what letters we can make with them. What a great way to make them think! For some letters this isn't as easy as you might think.

As their gears were turning so were mine! I decided to make letter mats for my younger students to use with the craft sticks for creating capital letters.

Students can either look at the mat and make the letter next to it, OR place the sticks on top of the mat to make the letter. The velcro dots aren't necessary for this, however, are very helpful to keep the sticks in place where they need to be.

You can purchase these letter mats in my {TpT} store by clicking the photo below.

I've also used craft sticks for other activities in my classroom this year--

Sight Word practice! 
Students picked a sight word from the box, then found the letter stickers and spelled the sight word on their recording sheet with stickers. Not only are we practicing sight words here, but we're also working on fine motor skills with peeling and applying the stickers.

STEM Activities!
This was one of my favorites and my students even asked for it months after we had wrapped up our time spent with apples. This idea comes from Hand Made Kids Art and it's pretty self-explanatory set up wise. Just a little prep work with painting the tubes and I differentiated this by cutting some of the tubes in half so the students also had to work on stacking the tubes before creating their tree.

There are so many awesome ideas out there! I created a Pinterest board just for craft stick LEARNING activities. Like I said before, there is an abundance of craft activities out there, but I wanted to focus on just the learning ones. How we can use or incorporate craft sticks with play and learning. Click {here} or or on the image below to check out the board!


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