Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Toddler Tuesday: Stick Puzzles

This week we made puzzles out of wooden craft sticks!

Here are the supplies we used:

Craft Sticks
Mod Podge/Sponge Aplicator
Razor Blade

And the play by play:

Cut out the pictures

Lay out the sticks and coat with Mod Podge

Press picture onto Mod Podge

Add another coat

Set aside to dry and repeat with remaining pictures.

Once dry, fold to break Mod Podge seal between sticks

Score picture along cracks between sticks with a razor blade.


Quick, cheap and easy!!

I put a different shape at the top of each puzzle to help us sort them later.
I also numbered the sticks and wrote the animal names.
An activity that will grow with my little one!
I made these for my preschool and kindergarten students. It is a very versatile ativity that is easily customizable to suite a wide age range of learning levels. 

Toddlers will most likely need help putting the outer sticks in the right places but Ayden is able to put the inner pieces, the ones with the actual animal on them, together independently. 

While playing with these puzzles, we talk about body parts on the animals (he points out eyes, ears, nose, etc). We talk about what the animal is eating or what they are doing in the picture. We count the sticks and I point out the letters, numbers and shapes. He may not memorize/identify them yet but early exposure is only going to pave the way for when he is ready. 

Once we were done making animal sounds and discussing all we could we got to his favorite part:

(Afterward, he'd pretend to be concerned and say, "Oh no!" and try to fix it.)
As with any toddler activity, it is okay if their attention spans seem short or if they'd rather distruct rather than construct. The most important part of activities like this is that they spark conversation which, in turn, exposes them to a wide variety of vocabulary words and facilitates a lot of thinking on their part.

To make this activity even more fun, attach magnets to the back of each sick.  You can put them on the refrigerator or dishwasher.  You could get one of those huge oil pans and hang it on the wall in their bed or playroom. You could also make it a travel game with a cookie sheet in the car.

I printed these pictures from Microsoft Word's clip art. You could also use family photographs, real photographs of animals that you and your child take together (what a great culminating activity after a trip to the zoo, orchard, aquarium, etc!) or magazine clippings. You could also just draw pictures on the sticks with a permanent marker. Just put some scotch or painter's tape across the back to keep them lined up while you draw. There are so many directions you can take with this activity.

Ayden has been LOVING these and I know your children will too, young and old alike!  Here are a few little clips of him enjoying his new puzzles:

What have you used wooden craft sticks for lately?


Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Quite the Predicament"

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