Looking for a fun, hands on way for kids to practice spelling, reading, shapes and engineering? This craft stick challenge is the perfect solution. Our Shapes and Spelling STEM Game can be adapted for preschoolers to upper elementary, and is a great way to get some hands on skills practice, all while having fun!
STEM CHALLENGE WITH CRAFT STICKS
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I love it when we can find ways to make my kids excited about learning and practicing skills. Often it can seem so tedious doing flash cards or worksheets. You can see the excitement and passion just drain from their little bodies. It can be hard coming up with fun ways to practice skills, but this STEM game is just the ticket!
I love this STEM Challenge because it is so highly adaptable. You can use it for anyone from preschoolers on up.
Kids will practice skills in reading and spelling, shapes, plus engineering and building.
STEM GAME SKILLS CHALLENGE SUPPLIES
For this challenge you will need:
Scrabble board game letter tile pieces
BUDGET SAVING TIP!
You can often find Scrabble at second hand stores where you can grab it at a fraction of the new price. Another way to save money is to make your own play dough.
HOW TO PLAY FOR PRE-READERS
If your child is not reading yet, spell out a simple shape word with the Scrabble letter tiles. Examples are Triangle, Square, Rectangle, etc.
Then sound out and read the word with your child. If you are still practicing letters, have your child tell you each letter.
Now ask your child to build the shape using play dough and craft sticks. It may help if you build one first while the child watches.
Repeat with other shapes and words.
HOW TO PLAY FOR EARLY READERS
If your child is starting to read, spell out the shape word with letter tiles and ask them to read the word to you.
Then ask them to build the shape with play dough and craft sticks.
HOW TO PLAY FOR MORE CONFIDENT READERS
If your child is a more confident reader, tell them a shape name and give them a pile of letter tiles. Ask them to spell the name of the shape.
Then challenge them to build the shape.
If your child is able, challenge them to take on some 3D shapes like Cubes and Prisms. You can also work in some more complex 2D designs like House or Sun.
If you have coloured craft sticks or multiple colours of play dough, use colour words too. For example: Red Triangle.
Try timing kids. Lots of kids love a good race and competition to beat the clock. See how fast they can build their shapes if you set out 3 different shape words.
To really increase the artistic and engineering challenge, ask kids to work the Letter Tiles into their designs to spell words. Only do this if you can easily clean the play dough off the tiles, we don’t want to ruin your Scrabble game. So test first to make sure they are cleanable.
Free Graphing Shapes Printable
Don’t miss out on a fun and free graphing shapes printable to add to this activity. Join our STEAM Powered Family mailing list to access this and other printables free!
Most of all have fun!
The more we can make learning and skill development fun, the more passionate and excited kids become about learning. At the end of the day the greatest gift we can give kids is to foster their natural curiosity and instill a life long love of learning.