Craft Stick Puzzles
In my room, under my bed was a shoebox full of treasures. I collected tiny things that I found or purchased with cherished allowance dollars. There was a set of nested paper boxes where the largest one was no bigger than 2 inches (5 cm) across that a friend made and decorated. There was a tiny clay teapot that was given to me for my birthday. There was one of those plastic mazes with a ball bearing. Each held value much bigger than its size.
I believe if I had made something like these craft stick puzzles back then, it would have been added to that box. Create a puzzle using craft sticks and then place a rubber band around them for storage—the perfect fit for any treasure box.
6 to 8 wide craft sticks
Wide painters or masking tape
Markers or paint
Make a quiet-time bag for naps-on-the-run. We have all had to do an errand at the worst time of day—naptime. Calming activities are a great alternative when naps are unavailable. Consider adding these puzzle sticks, the Dry-Erase Doodles (page 13) and the aggie Maze (page 10) to your "quiet" bag.
Place craft sticks next to one another on a table, making a blank canvas as wide as you want your puzzle to be. Using a piece of painter's tape, secure them together. Turn over and decorate with markers or paint.
When done with the puzzle decor, release the sticks from the tape. Try to put the puzzle back together, restoring the picture you drew.
Modifications for Younger Kids: The simpler the picture, the easier it will be to put together. Consider making one gigantic geometric shape that your toddler or preschooler needs to put together.
Modifications for Older Kids:
Have older kids repeat the process on the blank side of the puzzle with the same colors they used in the original picture. This will make it more difficult to put together either side as a complete picture. You can also make multiple puzzles and mix the sticks together.