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5 Ways to Keep Your Kid Busy with Craft Sticks

This year, I was lucky enough to take the summer off and spend some extra QT with my toddler. And in the beginning, it was pretty awesome. I’ve missed having endless amounts of time to spend hanging with him since I went back to work. That being said, we’ve been home eight weeks and I think we’re both ready to get back into the swing of things. I love my toddler, but DAMN, he’s exhausting. I’d pay serious cash for the ungodly amount of energy he possesses. At this point in the summer, we’ve pretty much done anything and everything that I could possibly come up with to keep him busy. With only a few days left, I’m scraping the barrel for ideas.

Lucky for me (insert sarcastic tone here), the kid woke up well before 6:00am today. That means I had a few extra hours to spend keeping him from jumping off staircases and swinging from the chandelier. So by 8:00am, I was desperate. I found a bag of craft sticks and challenged myself to find five ways to keep this kid entertained (hopefully for a length amount of time). If you’re lucky enough to have a busy baby like me, feel free to check out some of the awesome activities I came up with below.

1.) Craft Stick and Clothes Pin Color Match

I used markers to color the end of six or seven craft sticks. Then, I colored the ends of each clothespin with the same colors. I challenged my toddler to attach the clothespin to the craft stick that has the same color. He LOVED this game! In the beginning, I had to help him squeeze the clothespins, but he got it down. Great for color recognition and fine motor skills.

Craft Stick and Clothes Pin Color Match

Craft Stick and Clothes Pin Color Match

2.) Matching

Next, I took a bunch of craft sticks and colored simple designs on each one. I made sure to make pairs of each design that I drew. Then, I laid all of the sticks on the table and had my toddler pick a stick and then find the matching design to make pairs. He really loved this one, too, and we had fun taking turns to find matches. If your child is a little bit older, turn the crafts sticks over to hide the designs and take turns picking sticks to make matches, similar to the game Memory.

Craft Stick Matching

Craft Stick Matching

3.) The Name Game

Write your child’s name in large capital letters on a piece of paper. Write each letter of their name on the end of a craft stick. Have them match the craft sticks to the correct letter on the paper. If your child already knows how to spell their name, have them do it without the paper that has their name written on it.

The Name Game

The Name Game

4.) Counting Craft Sticks

Cut four small pieces of paper into squares. Write the number “1” and color one dot on the first piece. Write the number “2” and color two dots on the second piece, and so on. Have you child lay the correct number of craft sticks onto each piece of numbered paper.

Counting Craft Sticks

Counting Craft Sticks

5.) Craft Stick Puzzles

This was, by far, our favorite! Print out two copies of a simple picture from your computer. I chose a clip art photo of a dog. Lay out craft sticks onto one copy to determine how many you will need. Cut the picture so that the pieces can be glued onto the craft sticks. When it dries, give your child the second picture so that they know what they are trying to assemble. Give them the craft sticks and ask them to assemble them to make the picture.

Craft Stick Puzzles

Craft Stick Puzzles

Need even more ideas??

  • Write one letter of the alphabet on each craft stick. Have your child put them in ABC order.
  •  Write both capital and lowercase letters on craft sticks and have your child match the capital and lowercase letters.
  • Try writing a sight word on a craft stick. Write each letter of the word on clothespins and have your child clip the correct letters onto the stick.


After a rough morning, these games kept my kid from climbing the walls for about an hour! Oh, and I think he learned a thing or two, as well. I’ll take it! I hope you try some out and enjoy! Leave me a comment below if you have some more crazy craft stick ideas!

Bad Parenting Moments

Well, fellow mothers. The day has come. After many months spent dreading this one inevitable parenting moment, it finally happened. It was bad. It was worse that I had imagined. And if you are a parent, you might have an idea of what I’m referring to here. Maybe it’s even happened to you.

Yup. You got it. My kid puked ALLLLLL over the backseat of my car.

When my husband and I were deciding whether or not we should have a baby, we had a lot of fears. Were we ready? Would we be able to handle the responsibility of raising a child? Were we financial stable enough? And most importantly, what the fuck would we do if our kid puked? Who would clean that shit up???

Vomit is by far my worst fear in life. Just thinking about barfing makes me want to barf. I swear, I was scarred for life after watching that scene in The Sandlot where the kids are blowing chunks at the carnival after chewing tobacco. Screw being afraid of “The Beast,” that puking was more horrifying than anything I had ever seen in my eight-year-old life. I’m actually nauseous just thinking about it.

So back to my gruesome story. Last week, we were invited over to our friend’s house for a play date. My son was acting totally normal. Happy. Fine. No indication of what was to come. He was playing contently in his car seat, chugging apple juice (yeah……. It wasn’t the last time I was going to see that apple juice). He started getting pretty obnoxious towards the end of our drive, so I told him to settle down. He screamed once or twice, which was weird… I peeked in my rearview mirror but he looked fine. As we were pulling into my girlfriend’s neighborhood, I heard him yell that his stomach hurt. God, I wish I took that comment seriously. Within moments, he was hurling apple juice all over himself, the car seat, and the back seat of my car.

Luckily, we were almost in my friend’s driveway when this all went down. I’m pretty sure I had at least three minutes of complete parenting shock. I might have momentarily blacked out while trying to decide how to the hell to handle this situation. I jumped out of my car, called my friend from the driveway, and yelled at her to come outside with supplies – I needed bags, wipes, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc. (You know your friend is a good person when you make that kind of phone call and they actually come outside with all said supplies, no questions asked).

I cleaned everything up as much as I could without tossing my own cookies, plopped my son into the extra car seat that I just happened to have in my car that day (THANK GOD), and prayed to sweet Jesus that we would make it home before he puked again.

It was an intense drive home. I’m fairly certain that I ran at least three red lights and drove twice the speed limit. In my defense, there are two times that breaking traffic laws are totally acceptable: 1) when you are on your way to hospital with your wife who is in active labor and 2) when your kid is losing his lunch in the backseat of your car. And yes, I’m fully prepared to defend that in a court of law.

Thankfully, we made it home before my kid decided to engage in round two of ralphing. Actually, it turned out that his puking was a one hit wonder (THANK GOD). I spent the remainder of the day with nose plugs and rubber gloves, attempting to clean out the car seat and the back seat of my car, which is really an entirely different post of its own. FYI – assembling, washing, and reassembling a car seat is pretty much comparable to cracking the Da Vinci Code.

So all in all, we both survived (although my son and I are both equally traumatized). I’m pretty sure throwing up was one of the most confusing and scary experiences for my two year old (AND me). He will most likely talk about the back seat barfing every single day for the next six months and I have will nightmares about it for a similar time frame. I was lucky to have made it two and a half years vomit-free and I will spend every day praying to the parenting gods that it doesn’t happen again anytime soon.

And if it does, hopefully it will happen on Daddy’s watch.