小星星 (Xiǎo xīng xīng / Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star) is the bedtime song for my kids, so my daughter knows the lyrics all too well. I made this 小星星 craft stick puzzle for her last year, and I think they are my daughter’s favorite of all the puzzles that I’ve made. I have a basket of all the craft stick puzzles I’ve made, and it’s a great “busy basket’ that my daughter can work on independently. I’m a big fan of incorporating Chinese with puzzles so that kids can review words in a fun, hands-on way!
I’m glad that I didn’t write about this particular puzzle until now so that I can show you tips I’ve learned since making the original puzzle!
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What you need:
- Star stickers
- X-acto knife
- Natural Jumbo craft sticks, natural mini craft sticks (we used these), or colored craft sticks
- Paint brush
- Black acrylic paint – Note: It dries quickly and leaves a vibrant color, but please note that the smell is rather strong when the paint is wet
- Circle template – We love this set from Learning Resources and use the smallest circle for the labels
- White address labels
- Black pen
How to make 小星星 (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) Puzzles:
- Decide on the number of craft sticks to use
- Since the song has 28 Chinese words, I recommend using 7 or 14 craft sticks for the song lyrics
- You could use 28 craft sticks and have 1 word per stick, but I feel like that is too many craft sticks
- You can use 14 craft sticks to have lyrics divided between the top and bottom of craft sticks
- The most cost effective option that we chose was to 7 craft sticks and have lyrics divided in the front and back of the sticks. This would also make the puzzle more challenging!
- Paint craft sticks black
- Allow paint to dry
- Using the smallest circle in the circle template, trace 28 circles
- Write 小星星 song lyrics (included at end of this post for your reference) with black pen
- Cut out labels and tape to craft sticks.
- Affix stickers throughout puzzle and cut with X-acto knife.
- Demonstrate how to complete the puzzle.
- Mix up puzzle pieces. As the child solves the puzzle, he or she might read or sing the song!
- Note: The lyrics and the stickers serve as controls for each other for completing the puzzle!
The next two photos are my “old” version of the craft stick puzzles. I previously used a black marker to color the craft sticks. You can also see how the the first stanza of the lyrics are 7 craft sticks; the second stanza is on the back.
Side-by-side comparison of two versions of the 小星星 (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star) craft stick puzzles
At the top is the marker version after one year of intermittent use! In contrast, I painted the bottom puzzle with black acrylic paint, and therefore, the star stickers and Chinese characters really pop! I highly recommend using paint instead of marker so these craft stick puzzles can look great for a long time!
Below are the lyrics for 小星星 (Xiǎo xīng xīng / Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star) in English, simplified Chinese, and Pinyin. The song is part of a wonderful album, “A Little Mandarin”, which you can download here.
小星星 (Xiǎo xīng xīng / Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star) Lyrics
Mǎn tiān dōu shì xiǎo xīng xīng
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