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household happies! popsicle sticks!

Monday, May 15, 2023

Good Morning!

Is anyone else feeling a bit like this?

Goodness! It was a busy weekend,

filled with birthday (Laura) and Mother’s Day (Laurie and Laura) celebrations!

We pray that all of the mamas, grands and caregivers

felt celebrated and loved this past weekend!

It’s been a while since we’ve shared a Household Happies post!

Today, we’re excited to bring you our next installment!

We’ve heard from several readers that they look forward to this feature! We agree! When spending time with our Littles - at our own homes or when visiting theirs - we always try to find ways to be inventive and economical, using household items to do so! Our goal is to provide options for you… to use with your littlest Littles (infants) on up (all the way through elementary school)!


here’s our criteria when choosing our monthly Household Happies topic!

The item is probably already found in many people’s homes!

If not - the item needs to be inexpensive to buy


it needs to be easily accessible for purchase most anywhere!

In addition…

The item needs to be able to be used in at least two ways for each age level!

In our first three Household Happies posts,

we’ve shared fun ways to explore with these household items:


In March, our topic was Household Happies! Post It Notes!

Today we continue to get creative

using items that may or may not be in your home right now

(although we think they should be)…

Popsicle Sticks!

Yes! Popsicle sticks (also known as craft sticks) are well worth the purchase!

You get a lot of bang for your buck and these sticks can be used

in SOOOOO many ways!

Dollar Tree sells packs of 100 (plain or assorted colored wood) for $1.25,

Target sells packs of 150 plain wood ones for $3.00

and Amazon offers boxes of 1,000(!) for less than $10.00!

Therefore, we definitely think popsicle sticks/craft sticks deserve to have

a Household Happies post devoted to them!

As kindergarten teachers, our classrooms were always stocked with popsicle sticks! While we’d use them regularly for craft projects we were making, we’d also use them for games and other learning activities! Plus, they are just plain fun, and nothing beats that! It’s super easy to carry a bag of popsicle sticks around with you when you are caring for your Little! It’s super easy to put a big handful in a small plastic bag. Add the bag to your purse for those moments when you are at a restaurant or an appointment and your Little needs a quick activity to keep them occupied!

How can you possibly use popsicle sticks with your littlest Littles?

Well, you’d be surprised!

Here’s what we’ve got for you!

Sing a Song!

Popsicle sticks are a fun way to involve your baby and toddler in music! Singing to infants helps them develop their tracking skills (the way in which they watch you). Hearing your voice in this new way, helps your Little bond with you in new ways, too! As your Littles grow into toddlers, the benefits only continue as their bodies and minds work together! Our Littles learn the sounds and meaning of words as they are exposed to increased vocabulary and predictability (crucial for school readiness) and the impact on social emotional growth is huge, too! Our Littles learn to express themselves as they relate to others in new and meaningful ways! As Grands we might feel self-conscious about our singing voice but our Littles could care less what our voice sounds like. They love us in spite of it! 😉

Now… onto our popsicle sticks!

Provide Picture Clues to Favorite Classics!

Put pictures on popsicle sticks that your baby can watch as you sing beloved songs. Your infant Littles will love this visual and toddlers can help manipulate the props as you sing!

Here are some examples of classic tunes to enjoy with your Littles!

Old MacDonald Had a Farm!

5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed!

Bingo! (B*I*N*G*O)

This Little Piggie Went to Market!

5 Little Snowmen Fat! (see our winter post for a video of this one!)

A Grand Tip!

How do you find pictures/photos to use?

Since we are using them for our own personal use,

we google images of a song and then choose ones we’d like to copy!

Then we cut out the graphics and tape or glue one to each popsicle stick!

Another option would be to look for children’s books at garage sales…

Old picture dictionaries are a great resource for this kind of project!

Also… if you are unfamiliar with the tunes above, check Youtube!

You can usually find the song there and once you hear it,

we’d be surprised if the tune doesn’t come back to you!

Make a Family Photo Gallery!

You can also entertain babies and toddlers with pictures of family members and pets that have been taped/glued onto popsicle sticks. Try singing the old tune of “Where is Thumbkin?”

Where is Mommy, where is Mommy?

Here I am, here I am

How are you today, Mommy?

Very well I thank you,

Run away, run away.

Guessing Games!

As another option, use the images and/or photos described above to play a guessing game! For example, Laura made a set of family photos on popsicle sticks for Little L (thanks for the idea, Laurie!) and once we sang the family song above, we laid out the family photos and played two versions of a guessing game!

Version 1 - I asked Little L to find different family members while looking at all the popsicle sticks. “Where is Mommy?” or “Where is Daddy?” Little L was intrigued with this activity and It was a bit of a challenge as she tried to pick the matching family member!

Version 2 - I hid one of the family photos and asked Little L, “Where is Mommy?” Then she went looking for the hidden photo! We played this over and over again!

We also played the above guessing games, using our "Old MacDonald" animal pictures on popsicle sticks! (Again, thank you, Laurie, for the idea!). Yes, we first sang “Old MacDonald” and then we played both guessing games above! Little L even told us what sounds several of the farm animals make! At 16 months, she is learning so much!

Letters in My Name!

Older toddlers can begin to work on the letters in their name. Form a letter with popsicle sticks and see if they can place pom poms on the sticks. You could also use cotton balls!

#1 Popsicle Stick Drop!

Little L loved this activity and it involved such an easy set up! I taped an empty paper towel roll to the wall, about shoulder level for Little L. I put a bin on the ground, under the paper towel roll. I modeled how to drop a popsicle stick through the tube and Little L watched it drop! We added the phrase, “Ready, Set, Go…” (which happens to be her favorite phrase these days)! Then I gave Little L a cup filled with popsicle sticks and she quickly learned to drop 2 sticks through the tube at a time! (You can also use colored pom poms or cotton balls for this activity, too!)

#2 Egg Carton Popsicle Stick Push!

For this activity, I used a trusty egg carton (perhaps a future Household Happies item!) and flipped it upside down! I used an exacto knife to cut slits as shown in the photos below! This activity provided such great hand-eye coordination and was also building strength in Little L’s hand muscles! The little sounds she made each time she pushed a popsicle stick into a slit with such determination… Well, it just made us giggle with delight!

I’ve already updated this activity for our next visit! Little L is beginning to recognize colors, so I’ve added a new layer of difficulty to this activity. As you can see from the photo below, I used different markers to color the areas around the slits. Then I colored the tops of the popsicle sticks to match (you could also use colored popsicle sticks). I chose six colors and repeated them twice on the egg carton and popsicle sticks. Little L’s job will be to match colors by putting a “red” popsicle stick in a “red” slot and so on!

NOTE: This game could easily be adapted and used with older Littles, preschool and kindergarten age! You could use 12 different colors and/or you could write the matching color word on the popsicle stick instead of showing the color, making this activity appropriately challenging for your older Littles!

Many of the ideas in our next section,

“preschoolers and older”

can also be adapted and used with older toddlers.

Check out the Build a Raft, Wiggle Jar, Race Track and Reading Pointer below!

Here are some quick, easy activities for preschool and older Littles to enjoy,

compliments of Laurie!

Photo Puzzles!

Your Littles will love this activity! Choose an image (your own photo or a print found online). Print the photo. Lay out popsicle sticks in a line about the size of your photo. Spread glue on the back of your photo, making sure it covers the photo from edge to edge. Glue onto the sticks. Let everything dry completely!

Flip the “frame” over. With an Exacto knife or utility knife (grown up job!) carefully cut the popsicle stick apart. Mix up the sticks and try to put the photo back together. Time yourself! Can you beat your last record?

Pattern Sticks!

If you have colored popsicle sticks this is an easy activity to enjoy. If you have plain tan ones, you could color a color or shape on the sticks! Your Little’s kindergarten teacher will thank you for this! 😊

(Kindergarten teacher note: it really is natural for 5 and 6 year olds to create patterns!)

Matching Shapes!

As a parent or Grand, place 2 sticks together and draw a shape or object on the sticks, making sure half of the item is on both sticks (see photo below). Mix up the sticks and have your Little try to build each shape!.

NOTE: For younger toddlers, you may want to color each shape (two sticks with a half of the shape on each) a different color (both star halves - green, both heart halves - red, both oval halves - purple, etc). Adding this will simplify the task and may prove more successful for these Littles!

Build Your Name/Letter/Number/Shape!

Challenge your Little to write his/her name, a letter, a number or a shape with popsicle sticks! (It’s harder than it looks!)

Build a Raft/Boat!

This is just a good old fashioned fun activity to do with popsicle sticks!

Can you build a raft or boat with popsicle sticks?

Step 1

Lay 2 popsicle sticks across from each other. Cover with glue. Lay additional sticks side-by-side down them.

You have made a raft! If you want to continue on, follow the next steps!

Step 2

Glue a popsicle stick down 2 opposite sides of the raft.

Step 3

Continue layering, gluing 2 sticks on opposite sides of each other to build a “wall”,

Step 4

Continue building your "wall" as high as you would like! Let the glue dry. You now have a boat!

Now comes the challenge! Does your raft/boat float!

Add some sailors to it! What happens if you flip it over?

If you continued building the walls higher, you could also make a building or even a treasure box! The possibilities are endless!

You can also skip ALL these steps

and let your Little build a boat

with his/her own imagination!

Wiggle Jar!

Do you have a Little that needs to get some wiggles out? Write different movements on each popsicle stick (10 jumping jacks, do a somersault, run in place for 1 minute, jump as high as you can, do 5 burpees, dance silently for 2 minutes, spin for 20 seconds (fabulous for Littles’ brains!) etc. If your Little needs to burn some energy, pull a couple of sticks out and put them to work! Keep your Wiggle Jar in a safe place so you can come back to often!

(This activity can easily be adapted for toddlers!)

Race Track!

Do you have a preschooler who LOVES cars? How simple is this? Give them some popsicle sticks and see if they can build their own race track?

Reading Pointer!

How fun is it for a new reader to create his/her own reading pointer from a popsicle stick and use it to help track words in a book! It gives your Littles complete ownership over their skill! Toddlers will also enjoy using a reading pointer to point to items in their books as you read to them.


Of course, the best thing you can do with popsicle sticks is to dump a box of them

on the floor or table and walk away.

Look at these fun creations made over the years

by kindergartners in Laura's class!

We guarantee that your Littles (of all ages) will wander over

and start creating on their own!

We hope this month’s Household Happies post

once again provided some Grand inspiration for you and your Littles!

We told you at the beginning of this post that there were

countless ways to use popsicle/craft sticks with your Littles…

and we weren’t kidding!

In fact, there are SO many possibilities,

that this Thursday’s post (May 18) will also be devoted to the topic!

Be sure to come back to see what we have in store for you!

We’ll have a few more ideas for you and some online resources we’ve collected, as well!

And, of course, If you have any suggestions for us to add to our lists,

please share in the comments at the end of this post!

Don’t forget to check out and follow/like

our blog’s Facebook page and/or our Instagram site!

We post there regularly with reminders and additional content!

Thanks so much for joining us today!

Wishing you the best week ahead…

We are delighted to join these link up parties and blog hops this week:

1 Comment

Esme Slabs
Esme Slabs
May 16, 2023

Super cute ideas for the kidlets, Thank you from your Vroom Vroom Team for sharing your links with us at SSPS. Please check back on Monday to see if your content has been featured.

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