Are you doing any Wikki Stix activities to support fine motor skills, visual motor skills, letter formation, and other underlying skill areas? If you are an occupational therapist, you have most likely heard of, or used Wikki Stix® (Amazon affiliate link). After being prompted to write about these neat little sticks, I started to do some research. Boy, was I missing out on the potential these things have! Follow along to learn the ins and outs of Wikki Stix, the myriad uses for them, and some great Wikki Stix activities.
WHAT ARE WIKKI STIX?
Have you used (or played with) Wikki Stix® before? (Amazon affiliate link) If not, you might be wondering what are Wikki Stix?
Wikki Stix are bendable strings covered in colorful wax. These strand-like thingies are sticky sticks of string that you can bend, mold, and form into shapes. In reality, they are made of hand-knitting yarn enhanced with a microcrystalline, food-grade non-toxic wax… the kind used in bubble gum and lipstick. And that is it. (Psst…it is that touch of wax that allows them to stick).
Wikki Stix (Amazon affiliate link) were invented in 1989 and called “Sticky Wikki” at that time. While I could not find a specific reference to the origin of this name, the sticky part is obvious. Wikki, I believe comes from the word “wick” as in candle wick. They were renamed Wikki Stix and Wikki Stix activities were born!
FUN FACTS ABOUT WIKKI STIX:
- They stick! No glue, no paste, no mess. Just press them down with light fingertip pressure on virtually any smooth surface and they will stick to itself and to other surfaces. This includes mirrors, dry erase boards, paper, walls, etc.
- They stick to each other for 3-D creativity and fun. Twist, bend, stick, create. No preparation… no clean-up… no mess.
- Wikki Stix do not break or tear apart, but cut easily with scissors.
- Wikki Stix are great for all users, including kids with allergies, because they do not contain dairy or dairy byproducts, latex, gluten, nor peanut or other nut oils or byproducts.
- Wikki Stix support hands-on, kinesthetic learning
- They are reusable.
- Purchase on the Wikki Stix website or (affiliate link) Amazon.
- They come in endless types of fun packs!
- Proudly made in the USA.
NON-TRADITIONAL WIKKI STIX ACTIVITIES
Before jumping into the more traditional use for Wikki Stix, I want to share some of the cool ideas for using these cool little sticky sticks.
Some of these ideas are shown in this video:
In the video, we show how you can use Wiki Stix for several skills: handwriting, spatial awareness, scissor use, pencil grasp, and more.
Here are tips to use Wikki Stix to support functional areas:
Wikki Stix for Coloring Skills
- Use Wikki stix to create a border for coloring in the lines. The Wikki Stix offer a phsyical border for coloring in a given space, which is great for kids who overshoot the lines or need a specific area to color inside of. Outline areas to be colored in with Wikki Stix. This gives a visual and tactile cue where your student is expected to color. You will eventually fade this trick, but it is a great starting tool.
- Wrap a small piece of Wikki Stix around the tip of a crayon to create a pencil grip. This is nice because traditional pencil grippers don’t always fit crayons and you can make grippers for a whole box of crayons inexpensively.
Wikki Stix for Handwriting Skills
- Improve hand grasp and stability by wrapping 1/2 of a Wikki Stix around the base of a pencil as a good reminder to hold it “down low”. We show an example of this activity in the video above.
- Practice pre-writing lines with Wikki Stix. The bendable sticks can be used as a model or as a writing space.
- Use Wikki Stix to make borders when handwriting, to keep letters on the line, as well as to indicate where to start and stop on the paper. Can also be used to create boxes to keep letters in.
- Use Wikki Stix under workbooks or paper for stabilization or a desk positioner. You can support the student that needs assistance to use their non-dominant hand while writing. For the student that has the book or workbook slide from the writing area, this is a nice support.
- You can even create a spiral with the Wikki Stix to hold the paper in the center onto the desk. Or, cut the Wikki Stix into smaller pieces and use them like reusable tape at the corners of the paper. Put them at the top of a piece of paper to keep in from moving while working.
- Keep a slant board steady by putting these under the board.
Wikki Stix for Self-Help Skills
- Cut a small piece of Wikki Stix to create a DIY zipper pull.
- Use Wikki Stix to create a physical and visual prompt for holding scissors correctly.
- Use Wikki Stix to outline areas on a table/placemat to indicate where the cup/plate/silverware should go.
- Make into large balls to practice fine motor touch math.
- Add to a shoe tying frame instead of laces for more support when teaching kids to tie shoes.
- Work on fine motor skills and hand eye coordination by dropping Wikki Stix into a water bottle. This is a fun game using Wikki Stix to build hand grasp.
- Use as a sensory DIY fidget toy.
- Practice emotions and feelings by making faces out of Wikki Stix.
- Teach braiding skills with Wikki Stix. The strings stay steady and it’s great for bilateral coordination.
Gross Motor Activities with Wikki Stix
- Use the Wikki Stix to create an obstacle course on the floor, similar to using tape lines.
- Use the Wikki Stix to create an indoor balance beam.
FINE MOTOR FUN WITH WIKKI STIX
- Play tic-tac-toe with Wikki Stix. Use the sticks to create the grid and/or to make the X and O’s.
- Make a Wikki Stix maze. Learners can zoom cars, marbles, their pencil, pompoms, or other manipulatives through the maze.
- Create a Wikki Stix racetrack.
- On paper, use markers to draw a picture with dots. Then ask students to connect the lines using Wikki Stix. You can also use Wikki Stix to connect dots on a regular dot to dot sheet.
- Use the Wikki Stix to work on visual tracking skills and form constancy to fill in a matching worksheet to connect matching items across the page. Here are free visual perception worksheets to try.
- Use Wikki Stix to teach kids to tell time. Make a clock on paper or laminated sheet. Use the sticks as the hands of the clock to practice telling time.
- Practice cutting the Wikki Stix to make smaller pieces and develop hand strength/snipping skills needed for scissor skills in cutting.
- Use as a string for lacing beads. Use them for many lacing activities. Use the Wikki Stix to create homemade lacing cards task. This creates more stability and an increased fine motor challenge
- Use to hold pony beads for counting, like an abacus
- Decorate rocks – use this sticks to make fun features on plain rocks, like faces, car parts, flowers, and more
WIKKI STIX ACTIVITIES for Visual Motor Skills
Some of the more traditional Wikki Stix activities support visual motor skills, include letter formation, creating art projects, making shapes, and other craft projects.
- Trace letters, number, and shapes with the sticks. Create a page with shapes and letters and laminate the page, or slide it into a page protector sleeve. The students can use Wikki Stix to form the letters or numbers on the page protector.
- Copying letters, shapes, etc. Cut the Wikki stix into smaller pieces. Show students a picture of a letter/number/shape and then ask them to recreate it with their Wikki Stix.
- Use Wikki Stix to practice patterns. Create shapes with the bendable sticks and then create a pattern. Ask your student to recreate it.
Wikki Stix Art
These Wikki Stix Art activities double as fine motor and visual motor tools.
- String them together to make longer ropes.
- Make Wikki Stix glasses.
- Use drawing prompts to create different shapes and pictures using the Wikki Stix.
WIKKI STIX Activity Sets
There are many Wikki Stix activity sets on the market that support various skills. You can use the bendable strings from these larger sets in all of the ways described above. Plus, you can use them in the ways that the Wikki Stix sets intend.
Here are some of our favorites. These are all Amazon affiliate links.
The website has endless ideas and products for Wikki Stix activities and creations.
- Wikki Stix Holiday packs– These sets include dot to dot pictures with a seasonal theme. Use the bendable strings to create a holiday image. Use the pack to create holiday masterpieces! The Wikki Stix people have created endless templates and packs for further enjoyment. They have Halloween, Valentines, Easter and Christmas Wikki packs. We love:
- Travel packs -If you are a therapist on the go, or searching for a take along task, the Wikki group have created several travel packs
- How about Party Favors, or little treats for your students? Wikki Stix activity sets have you covered!
- Senior Activity set– The Wikki Stix Senior kit involves more of an art set that uses the bendable wax sticks. Adults and teens will love this set because it doesn’t seem like a kids’ activity but still offers the creative outlet and fine motor work.
- Bilingual and multilingual packs are available too for French to English speakers.
- Extra Long Wikki Stix– These are nice because the wax strands come in 3 foot long sections. This is a great activity kit for gross motor skills.
- There are some imitators such as Monkey String, Fidget Sticks, Wax Sticks, Stringamajigs, and Doodle Stigs. I have not used any alternative Stix, so I can not attest to their usefulness, pliability, or stickiness
Benefits of Wikki Stix
As with anything we tend to recommend for therapeutic intervention, Wikki Stix come with a list of added benefits. These are the reasons we use Wikki Stixs in occupational therapy.
- Wikki Sticks helps fine motor development. As children bend and mold Wikki Stix into shapes, the muscles in their hands and fingers can develop
- Kinesthetic learners benefit from learning by doing. Physically creating items helps build their understanding and learning
- Touching Wikki Stix wax coated yarn stimulates the tactile system. Seekers tend to enjoy this sticky texture, while those who are sensory sensitive might find them harder to adjust to.
- Wikki Stix help build pincer grasp, bilateral coordination, in-hand manipulation, and prehension
- Visual perception -Students learn borders for coloring, can keep place in a book, recognize shapes and letters, and copy designs
I feel like I may have been missing out on the (Amazon affiliate link) Wikki Stix potential. I have them in my OT Toolbox but rarely use them anymore. To be honest, I do not like the sticky feeling. After researching and writing this, I am going to revisit my Wikki stash and revitalize it with my kiddos this week.
Victoria Wood, OTR/L is a contributor to The OT Toolbox and has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.