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Picket Puzzles


8 jumbo craft sticks or tongue depressors for each child
colored markers
masking tape
rubber bands
scratch or drawing paper


1. Preparation: Align eight sticks in a row (like a picket fence) for each puzzle. Secure the sticks with two 6" long pieces of tape placed crosswise about 1" from the top and bottom of the "fence." This taped side will form the back of the puzzle. Test your markers on an extra stick; most washable brands will work on wood. Cut out 6" squares of scratch paper.
2. Invite the children to create designs that fill an entire 6" square of paper (otherwise the completed puzzle may have blank pieces).
3. Ask the children to copy their design onto the wooden squares (the side without tape) using a pencil. They can then use markers to trace and color the artwork.
4. Ask the children to flip over their puzzles to backside. Help them number the top of each stick one to eight (from right to left).
5. Now ask the children to remove the tape strips from the puzzle backs and gather their sticks in a bundle. Provide space for each child to shuffle her sticks and solve her own puzzle by lining the sticks back into their original order. The numbers on the back can be used as a reference if needed.
6. Conclude the activity by securing each child's puzzle with a rubber band.
Tip: The numbered sticks can be used in the teaching of math sequencing concepts.
Book: The GIANT Encyclopedia of Kindergarten Activities
Center: Toys & Games/Manipulatives/Table Toys/Fine Motor
Topic: Numbers
Content: The Arts: Visual Arts
Area: Cognitive
Age: Kindergarten
Interaction: Individual Child

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