Sunday, October 5, 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wikki Stix I love you~!

Love Wikki Stix. What are Wikki Stix? One of the greatest inventions evah!!!

 They are pliable strands of yarn covered in a wax coating. I often use them to teach students to make letters, words, or shapes. My son uses them at home for spelling. When I need to store them, I just have the kids put them back onto a laminated file folder. They stay sticky longer that way. Also, if one gets un-sticky, just rinse with water and it can stick again!

They help to develop fine motor skills and creativity. The best part is they are mistake-free, meaning whatever you create or bend can return to its original Wikki Stix form. 

They can be used:
-at an ABC/Spelling center
-making shapes
-to divide compound words
-to highlight words in the class daily news/morning message
-highlighting words in a big book
-coding words in a sentence like red-nouns, green-verbs, blue-adjectives
-art projects like sculptures
-underline beginning or ending sounds
-match items during centers, instead of drawing a line from word to object
-name recognition
-letter shape
-letter with sound to teach phonics
-measuring items around the room
-highlight sight words/word wall words
-teach short/long

You can make your own, too--recipe from a teacher...

You need;

- waxed paper (several sheets)
 -yarn or string pre-cut to the size you want ( about six inches long)
-a pair of long tweezers to fish out the yarn strands 
-a wooden or metal spoon. 
-paraffin wax or bottle/bowl sealant wax
I used thick 100% cotton yarn from Hobby Lobby. It was a three-ply yarn, so I pulled them apart. 
*You need very soft and sticky wax, so I used (believe it or not) a toilet bowl sealant ring. You can get them at Home Depot or Lowe's in the toilet section. You also need a very small amount of a harder wax like paraffin. I went to Michael's but didn't find the paraffin wax (I think its made by Gulf?) so I bought the cheapest basic candle wax I could find (actually it was bottle sealant wax, which is pretty much the same as the paraffin wax used for canning).

It worked best to use the whole wax ring with just a little bit of paraffin (maybe 1/8th to 1/4th cup melted). Inside the wax ring is a filament type of substance, similar to steel wool, I would just dump that in and fish it out once all the wax was melted off. Anyway, melt the small chunk of paraffin and then add the toilet sealant wax ring. Its messy, though. 

Wax has a low flash point so keep the temp very low. Once your waxes are melted, start dipping your yarn strands. Let soak a moment until saturated and fish out with the tweezers. Let wax drip off the end until not dripping anymore and then transfer to the waxed paper to cool. Once cooled down, the strand should be sticky to the touch but not as sticky as the toilet seal wax. The wax shouldn't harden to the point where it cracks. It should be soft and pliable and sticky when cooled.

 I only used three colors of yarn, red, blue and white because that's what I had on hand. You could easily use other colors and types of yarn and even color the wax by adding food coloring. 

After I got cleaned up, I thought about trying shoelace tipped stringing yarn that you get from Discount School Supply (which is polyester, I think) and even the bright neon floss and wondered how those would work.

 The waxes cost about ten dollars but you could easily split the costs with a co-worker and make more than enough for both of you. 

I had about half a cup of wax left over and probably ended up with 50 strands of waxy sticks. I could have done a lot more.

I found that Orange Glow citrus cleaner (wood cleaner) worked pretty well in cleaning up the wax that dripped on the counter and stove.

Share in the comments if you have more ideas on how to use Wikki Stix!!!

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