As an early years teacher, one of my favourite things was finding cheap, easy activity ideas that would provide children with hands-on materials to help with their development in different areas of learning.
Here are nine ways you could use humble paddle pop sticks (popsicle sticks) to engage your students in the classroom.
1. Handwriting Helper
2. Hands Up!
A cute way to encourage children to put their hands up during small group or whole class work. Cut out a hand template on coloured foam and stick on the end of a paddle pop stick. Children love this!
3. Nouns, Verbs and Adjectives
Write nouns, verbs and adjectives on paddle pop sticks, and then name foam cups with nouns, verbs and adjectives. A great hands-on writing activity where children pick one paddle pop stick from each cup and then create silly sentences. Alternatively, children can sort the words into nouns, verbs and adjectives. The options are endless!
4. Googly Reading Eye
Stick a googly eye on the end of a paddle pop stick for children to use as a tracker during reading. A great visual tool for children who struggle to track words while they read.
5. Number Sentences
Put the plus symbol and equal sign on one side of a larger paddle pop stick, and a minus sign and equal sign on the other side. With varying numbers on wooden pegs, children create simple number sentences. This is also a great fine motor activity!
6. Number Patterns
Write numbers on paddle pop sticks using different number patterns. Children need to put the number patterns in order and then work out the rule for each pattern to work out what number comes next. A great maths activity to use during maths rotations.
Use our helpful handwriting ‘Spaceman’ template and stick it on a paddle pop stick. Use it during writing sessions to remind children to put a space between their words.
8. Sight Words Vocabulary Builder
Write sight words or word family words on paddle pop sticks. Write each of the letters of each word on wooden pegs and mix them all up. Children need to find the correct letters to create each of the words. This is great for word building, recognising rhyming words, learning sight words, letter/sound recognition, find motor development and much more.
9. Word Families
Create word family houses using a piece of cardboard with the last two letters of the word family and then words that create the word family on paddle pop sticks. Mix the words up and have children build each of the word family houses.
If you have any other ideas, we would love to hear about them! Leave a comment below…