I recently found out about Wikki Stix when my kids were given a small pack of them to play with instead of crayons at a restaurant in San Antonio. Wikki Stix are long, thin, shapable, buildable sticks made of hand-knitting yarn and a food-grade non-toxic wax. They stick to any surface, and don’t leave a residue or color behind when removed and they also stick together to provide 3-D fun. They are twistable, bendable, and endlessly reusable.
My kids had so much fun playing with them at the restaurant, and I loved them too. It is such a unique and creative toy, different from anything we’ve played with before.
I knew this would be a great STEAM toy for my kids, so I reached out to Wikki Stix to see what other products they had. I was happy to find they make a STEM Pak. My kids were both graciously gifted the Wikki Stix STEM Paks. The timing couldn’t have been better with our local schools closing for at least a month, we’re going to need all the educational toys, games, books, and activities we can get!
I’m trying to keep the kids and myself busy during this extended period at home together, so I’ve committed myself to doing a daily STEAM activity with the kids and sharing all the instructions to do it with your kids too on my Engineering Emily Instagram and Facebook accounts. If you aren’t already, please follow my social media accounts to see the daily activities we are doing and do them along with us!
On Monday, I pulled out the STEM Paks for my kids and let them play. They were both immediately thrilled with the amount of Stix and variety of colors. My kids started asking me, “What do we do? What can we make?” and I was quick to let them know there are no rules with this toy. Their imagination is the limit and they can make anything they can think of.
However, sometimes it’s easier to get started with a new toy with a goal in mind. Thankfully the STEM Pak comes with lots of pictured ideas as well as complete instructions to make a DNA double helix. They also provide the link to additional STEM and STEAM lesson plans and examples on their website.
My son looked at the ideas that came in our STEM Pak and decided to try making a model of Saturn. We weren’t really sure how to create it in 3-D, so we started making it in 2-D on our table, hoping we could then lift it off and shape it into the 3-D model. This didn’t work as easily as planned and we ended up starting over to create a smaller 3-D sphere.
I liked how things didn’t work out as planned. It originally upset my son, but I explained to him that this is how we learn. STEM is about trial and error, and not giving up. If something you try doesn’t work out you have to learn from it and make changes when you try again. The second model of Saturn came out pretty cool.
Meanwhile, my daughter wanted me to make her a 3-D brontosaurus pictured in the STEM Pak. Since I failed at my first attempt at a 3-D sphere, a whole dinosaur worried me. I started with the tail, then the head. It was going pretty well, but very slowly.
My daughter quickly became bored because the dinosaur was taking too long to make and used the parts I had created to make a new, simpler creation. It was a 2 horned monster, and I was so proud of her creativity.
My daughter had a blast playing with the Wikki Stix, wrapping them around and around on her hands to make “wheels”, and twisting them and shaping them all different ways.
My son and I decided to work in more 2-D shapes until we became more skilled with the Wikki Stix. We decided to make a maze inside of a shoebox. I helped lay out the maze path. At first the marble wasn’t running good because with just one layer of sticks were too thin, and the marble easily jumped the path. So we learned from this and added a second layer, then a third. With 3 layers of Wikki Stix laid down, the marble could easily be maneuvered through the maze.
We had fun creating and adjusting the maze. We even made a larger one on the table for fun and just pushed the marble through it.
With most new toys, I spend the first day playing and building together with my kids to help them learn how to use the toy, and let them gain confidence to begin to play with it themselves. I played with and helped my kids the whole time they used their Wikki Stix on the first day. By the second day, they were pulling the Wikki Stix out and creating on their own while I made breakfast.
My son made a 2-D heart and added a fun pattern inside. My daughter continued to make more “wheels” and fun shapes in 2-D. Then, my son created tight spirals in all the colors. I love seeing my kids’ imaginations at work and seeing what they come up with when they play on their own.
I also plan to use the Wikki Stix to form and practice numbers and letters with my daughter during our time “home schooling” during this social distancing period. My daughter still has trouble recognizing all her letters, and doesn’t like to practice with me at home, so I am hoping this will be a new and different way of learning them that will spark her interest!
This is a great toy to have around that the kids can pull out and get creative from time to time. It creates no mess and clean up is as simple as picking up the sticks and putting them back in their container.
Throughout this post I have linked to the Wikki Stix website where you can find the STEM Pak available for purchase and learn more about Wikki Stix. They have lots of information about the product and many helpful videos and tutorials. But wait, before you buy it, I am giving one Wikki Stix STEM Pak away on my Instagram account this week! Head to my Instagram page and look for the Wikki Stix post for all the details on how to enter!
Have you played with Wikki Stix before? How are you keeping your kids busy during the Coronavirus Social Distancing?