Craft Stick Puzzles

This week we are doing the Sparks Diverse Connections Challenge from the Girls First Platform. One of the activities, “More or Less” involves the girls putting together puzzles in small groups. The activity is designed to use the girls’ creativity and empathy to explore the ideas of prejudice, and different kinds of diversity. The kicker is, only 2 of the groups will have all the pieces needed to complete the puzzle. The other groups will have half the pieces they need, or too many pieces. With me so far?

The activity does come with a resource, a paper puzzle that you cut up into pieces and give those to the girls’ in their groups. I did print them out and cut one of them up. Then I decided that it was too flimsy and challenging for the dexterity of most 5 and some 6 year olds to futz around with. Since the activity is not about the puzzles themselves, I didn’t want them to spend 20 minutes trying to put together the paper puzzles and then being super frustrated when it didn’t work out. I wanted the puzzle part to be super simple, so that they could more immediately see that things were not exactly fair in this game!

So the answer for me was to make some simple craft stick puzzles!

Craft Stick Puzzle

These durable puzzles are great for little hands! I used to make them for my kids when they were toddlers. I would add numbers or letters to the top to help them learn their 123s and ABCs. It works very well for this activity, and I can save them easily for future activities too. Here’s how it’s done:

Craft Stick Puzzle

What You’ll Need:

Mod Podge

Craft Sticks–for this project you’ll need 18 of the large ones

Pictures–I got mine from the GGC website: Brand Photos

Exacto-knife

Scissors

Brush

How to:

I copied the six pictures I wanted to into a google doc then printed them out. I chose photos that were all the same size and alignment so that they would be uniform.

Then I laid out six sticks like this:

Next, I put a think layer of modpodge Gloss on the back of the picture and laid it on top of my sticks:

Let this dry a little. If you start to cut everything up too fast, the pictures may rip.

Once it dries (this won’t take long if you’ve only put a thin layer of mod podge on the back), you can start to cut the individual sticks away with their pictures.

It helps if you lift up the edge a big and cut down the crease.

Make sure you trim the edge pieces with the scissors too!

Next, add a healthy amount of mod podge to the tops of the puzzle pieces. I like to pick them up individually that way, it tends to make less of a mess.

Let that dry and voila! You have craft puzzle sticks!

Let me know if you make this craft and what you used it for!

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