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6 inexpensive ways to use craft sticks to ignite the imagination and bring a story to life.

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Craft sticks are inexpensive and versatile, they had to be included in the story basket foundation box for these two and many more reasons. I included 50 of the largest size craft stick but a mixture of sizes and pre-coloured ones could be added.

Here are the ways I have used them so far:

1. An item in a story like a house or bus

2. Items that add to a story like a fence or a wand to ignite the imagination

3. To increase early literacy

4. To increase number awareness

5. As loose parts

6. As stick puppets

A craft stick can add texture but I use them more often to build items that connect to the story and children’s interests. Knowing what to include in a story basket can be discovered through trial and error or you could dive into my LIVE 7 day challenge or self-paced 7 lessons on how to make and share a story basket.

Many stories have a house and a barn and would be vital in a story basket. They are so simple to make and can be decorated in a variety of ways: from dying with food colouring, marking with a pen (and then seal them) to adding different materials and texture.

One of the best examples and a favourite story is the 3 little pigs. For the 3 little pigs I added more texture with the straw being raffia wrapped around a square craft stick frame and sticks glued to another. These took a bit more time that others BUT so worth it! You can get my FREE transfer e-pattern for the 3 pigs and try out the transfer technique for yourself. I had fun with a lighter on the house in Dragons love tacos to make them look burnt from a dragons fire breathing.

The craft sticks were glued with a glue gun and on the whare I added a transfer to represent the carvings that a whare would have. This is a favourite technique that I use on story disks, spoons and peg dolls. If I was to add a crafting essential item it would have to be mod podge to do the transfer technique and then a glue gun (PVA works well on craft sticks too but a glue gun works on all materials). I have also used the smaller ones as a paddle for a waka or canoe, no glue required and in fact they were pre-coloured.

You can also buy craft sticks with shapes on top and these are great for posts, signs and even wands. You can see that I have also added stamped numbers to my fences. I have used the wands with a star in my Room on the Broom story baskets If you can’t get hold of them, you can always glue a shape on!

They are an inexpensive way to add literacy and the alphabet by stamping on letters and sealing them. Great for any book with the alphabet or for children who have an interest in letters.

I have also used them to add counting with number sticks. If you loose them it is not big deal as they are fast to make. The children have helped me do this too. It is just a matter of making or sourcing the animals or apples in the case of 10 apples up on top.

The craft stick is a great loose part for the children to imagine what they are or add a STEM element. They are fabulous in any of the Sally Sutton series for demolition or roadworks. They were great with the book 6 sticks. They are also great as a loose part in a activity story basket like used in the 7 kites of Matariki.

In our newest e-pattern (available on the 1st Oct) for the Mo Willems characters, I used coloured craft sticks to make a bus. It was so simple and an essential prop for the story Don’t Let the Pigeon drive the bus.

You will also see the craft stick used as a stick puppet and I used them for speech bubbles in Waiting is not easy and the Pigeon needs a bath!. I laminated the speech bubble with a gloss sleeve (used matt first time and pen would not rub off) and it can be used over and over again. Another inexpensive way to add early literacy and mark making. This idea I got from a 7 day challenge participant. Thank you Bridget!

The stick puppets have been a huge hit and I will be working on some more in the near future.

That was another item from my FREE e-booklet on a story basket foundation box that HAD to be included. craft sticks or popsicle sticks. Want to see and read about the other items and the tips and tricks then check them out in my BLOG.

Until next time


P.S. this post contains affliate links and if you use them I may get some money and it will not cost you a cent.

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