Tuesday, January 24, 2012

DIY Popsicle Stick Puzzles

A friend of mine hosted a toddler busy bag swap a little over a month ago, just in time for the holidays. I hadn't ever participated in anything like it, but it was a huge success!

Each parent (we happened to all be moms) made enough of one activity to be able to give one to each other mom and also keep one for her own family. Some of the activities included mini reversible felt boards, homemade playdough, geo boards, "I Spy" bottles, colored pasta beads for stringing together, a magnetic fishing game, and so many more!

The activity I chose to make for the busy bag swap was popsicle stick puzzles. They were fun and simple to make, and I love how compact they are! Right now, Daniel just likes to play with the sticks, but soon he'll be able to figure out how to arrange the puzzle pieces to make a recognizable image. No matter how he plays with it, I'm glad it's interesting enough to encourage solo play every once in a while so I can accomplish a task or two on my own.


Puzzle Supplies:
Jumbo popsicle craft sticks
Masking tape
Washable (Elmer's) glue
5x7" photographs
Small sharp craft (Exacto) knife
Safe cutting surface (like a self-healing mat or a thick piece of corrugated cardboard)
Bags for storage

Here's How:
  1. Lay out ten popsicle sticks side by side, matching up the flattest edges you can, then tape them together with a couple strips of masking tape. (I found that while these sticks look fairly straight, the edges are quite irregular. I rejected the lumpiest ones, or put then on the outer edges.)
  2. Flip the whole thing over and evenly distribute a layer of washable glue across the surface of the popsicle sticks. (Spread your glue out better than I did--I ended up having to re-glue a few in the end.)
  3. Center a 5x7 photograph on the glue and press down to adhere. Let it dry in a flat place (away from your kid's hands!). You may want to place the puzzle between two books to ensure that it stays flat while it dries.
  4. When the glue has dried completely, remove the tape and place the puzzle on your safe cutting surface.
  5. With the craft knife, cut the photo into strips along the seams between the popsicle sticks. (I admit, I asked Jaymz to help me with this step because I'm not great with knives.) A ruler or other stiff straight edge will help you to make precise cuts.
  6. Gather the puzzle pieces together and store them in a baggie. (I used sandwich size plastic baggies, but a small cloth bag would work just as well.)
    Each one of these is its own little activity!
    So much fun in such a small package. =)
I had a lot of fun (though it was difficult) choosing from my photograph collection to use for this project. I made a set on Flickr which includes the photos I used (plus a few extra). You're welcome to use my photos for your own busy bag popsicle stick puzzles. Keep in mind the difficulty of the puzzle in relation to the intended recipient's age when selecting photographs: younger kids could get frustrated with a puzzle that's too hard to figure out.

The part I enjoyed most about the busy bag swap was getting to see how creative the other parents were with their activities. Leaving with a huge bag full of new tools to try out when our kids are climbing the walls was pretty great, too. One of the moms decided to give these activities to her kids as their Christmas presents. I opted to introduce them one by one over time, and I still have a few new activities from this swap to give to Daniel. I've been grateful lately (since it's been too rainy to go outside) to have a few of these stashed away so I know there's something interesting to do when we both get stir-crazy.

Fortunately, there are tons of ideas out there for different kinds of busy bag activities, and I look forward to making more of them in the future!

Have you made busy bag activities for your little ones? Do you have a favorite rainy day activity (or last ditch effort to maintain the peace) that your kids like? I'd love to hear your ideas and suggestions!

43 comments:

  1. I love this so much. We've done these stick puzzles just with our own drawing on them. I can't wait to try these!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I haven't done this, but I really want to. I should host a party like this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, I hope you do! I would definitely go to another party like this someday. =)

      Delete
  3. Awesome idea about the busy bag swap. I love it, and I may suggest it to the play group we're part of. And that puzzle idea is just perfect!

    I have been meaning to post some of my pics from the last several months of various busy crafts. One we really dug from last fall was a spaghetti glue mobile. You cook up spaghetti noodles and let a child dip them one by one into various plates of glue that you've colored with food coloring or paint or beet juice or ?? Then, the child can lay the noodles at random atop one another into a pile (on a surface like wax paper that has been lightly oiled. It takes a few days to fully dry and stiffen, but then you peel it carefully off the paper, and you have this funky mobile that looks neat when sunlight comes through it. Forewarning: it's a bit messy, so it wouldn't be a good activity for a kid who doesn't like sticky hands.

    ReplyDelete
  4. These are great, Im so glad you added this to the blog blitz, as Im definitely going to make this. And what a great idea for a party... Im going to do that too! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love activity bags! And I've never made this, but it looks so great (and easy!) I will definitely be trying them. Thanks for the photo set link too!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I keep meaning to make these! We have the popsicle sticks and everything. Thanks for the nudge — yours turned out beautifully. I would never have thought to paint the sticks, too. I'm going to have to whip up a few new activities for our upcoming family trips, and this is going on the list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Full disclosure: I didn't paint the sticks, I bought the multi-colored pack (which was far cheaper than the plain ones) from the craft store. ;)

      Delete
  7. Totally pinned this - hopefully I'll get to it soon :) It is awesome and I think Jemma would have a blast with it. She is loving puzzles these days :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love this idea. I've never seen popsicle stick puzzles before!

    I was digging the colored sticks, too. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. After buying 5x7 photos, I realized that they were much to big for standard popsicle sticks. I had to go back and buy jumbo sticks to finish this project. Just a heads up! 4x6 photos would probably work just as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, this project calls for jumbo sized Popsicle sticks to go with the 5x7 photos. The smaller sticks would make for a more difficult puzzle--if that's what you're going for, great!

      Delete
  10. These are awesome! I think it might be fun to use familiar photos, such as your own home, pets or family members.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is a great idea! I think I'm going to have to do this for the kids. Since they already have so many toys, their big gift is going to be a "winter adventure." We're planning to take them down to the beach for a couple of days in January to climb a lighthouse (Hunting Island, SC). So, I could get a photo of the lighthouse and make a puzzle out of it for them to figure out where they are going!

    ReplyDelete
  12. In start every student gets some trouble but as the time passes all the problems solve themselves and assignment writing help has its important role in this case as well to provide the best results to the students.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lack of resource, time and knowledge in wiring an assignment can spoil a student’s grade in the semesters. But, with assignment's help from our organization he or she can remain tension-free.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Are your pictures printed on photo paper or regular paper?

    ReplyDelete
  15. You possibly can make your own fresh created popsicles for cents on the money in comparison to all of those expensive shop product popsicles. A beneficial advantage of creating your own home created popsicles is that you management the what go into them. http://daily-crossword.com/

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a fun learning activity. I will make these for my 2 kids. Thanks for the inspiration, Amy.

    Wait till you see Farm Service

    ReplyDelete
  17. MyAssignmenthelp.com’s assignment writer assists the students in their coursework by providing beneficial assignment help Tauranga service that is a part of its assignment writing services Tauranga. This coursework assistance portal also provides essay help Tauranga through many an essay writer Tauranga, who are natives of the Tauranga region.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Loved to read your blog.Thanks for sharing.
    If you need assistance in Dissertation writing help them visit BuyDissertatioonOnline.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Amazing puzzle.
    Are you looking for professional essay writers then visit Essay Gator. Our experts will help you in essay writing services at comparative price.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great post keep on sharing new things if you want assignment help experts then Myassignmenthelp.com is the best online platform.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Nice blog keep on sharing new things but if you want thesis help services then just visit MyAssignmentHelp.com and place an order.

    ReplyDelete
  23. wow great pictures..
    I appreciate your working style at the end just my request is please share with us some more great post.Many thanks for sharing this very informative post. Have a super nice day
    math homework helper

    ReplyDelete
  24. Very Informative post. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.
    Do you need Essay Help? Essayassignmenthelp provide best Essay Writing Help services at cheapest cost.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Looking to buy assignment online? We offer customized writing, editing services. My Assignment help is world's largest assignment provider with over 4000 writers, over 6 lac completed assignments and a rating of 4.9 we are leaders in Assignments, Dissertations, Thesis & Essay writing services.

    ReplyDelete
  26. The Student Room has the best writer for you in Australia to provide assignment help.Contact us today for instant writing services & get delivery before the submission date.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Students Assignment Help is the number one online Homework Help agency, who possesses the best and efficient team of assignment writers who are hired from around the world.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Nice Post . Thanks For Sharing!
    Are You looking for Physics homework help? Myassignmenthelp provide best
    Physics Homework help
    to the student at cheapest cost.

    ReplyDelete

  29. Are you finding it difficult to write an impeccable economics assignment? If you want to impress your economics professor by submitting an error-free assignment, then you should take online economics assignment writer in UK from us. We have been guiding students for last many years. We assist students to achieve academic excellence.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Stick puzzle. I love it.
    The Student Room has the best writer for you in Australia to provide my assignment help.Contact us today for instant writing services & get delivery before the submission date.

    ReplyDelete
  31. You want your assignment to be perfect but shortage of time can make it delay and you may loose your grades. Our panel of expert writer's is the best online help for assignment writing service in UK. Need Assignment Help? We are at help 24/7. Contact now.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I am an antique article collector and this article is one of the best I have ever read. I hope to see the same amazing work from you in future. Thanks Assignment help | Need Assignment help |Freelance photographer

    ReplyDelete
  33. Your post is very interesting for see, I am personally very fond with your handwriting on this page.
    Gurgaon Escorts Services at Affordable Price
    Independent Escorts Available in Gurgaon Roshanikhanna

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hello, Dear Author! Great Blog awesome information, You are doing Good efforts. All the best for future posts. I have bookmarked you. Well done. I read and like this post. My Name is Roose aana and i can provide Assignment Help Services in every Worldwide colleges.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Great post keep on sharing new things if you need academic writing services like paper help and paper writing service then Myassignmenthelp is the best online platform where you will get the paper help and paper writing service

    ReplyDelete
  36. This is a really great pictures..i appreciate your work and your working style. If someone needs assignment help services then hire our assignment writers

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comment! I love hearing from you.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...