Teacher Mama: 7 Uses for Paint Mixing Sticks in the Classroom

5 Uses for Paint Mixing Sticks in the Classroom

On our return to the States there were 3 stores I knew we would visit within the first two days– Target, Old Navy and Home Depot– and we did! While walking through the paint section of Home Depot, I was reminded of something I used to do in my classroom and wanted to share.

You know the free, wooden paint sticks they give you to stir your paint? Well, they make a great tool for the classroom. Stop by the store, grab however many you need and try these ideas.


  • wooden, paint stir sticks
  • paint (optional)
  • sharpie or stickers


  • If desired, paint each stick on both sides. Allow to dry. You may also choose not to paint the sticks and that is fine too.
  • Write the name of each student on a stick or use stickers to spell each child’s name.
  • You can also write the names of the students on the sticks with a Sharpie and then have them decorate them with markers.

How to Use the Sticks:

Attendance: Place a small table or desk next to the door of the classroom. Put an empty can or jar (big enough to hold all the sticks) on the table.  Lay out all the sticks name side up. When students enter the room in the morning,  have them place their stick in the can. This allows for easy attendance taking and gives children some accountability.

Pick a Student: Place all the sticks in a jar or can. Whenever you need to pick a helper, need someone to go first or to call students in order, choose sticks from the can.

Library Helper: If students visit the school library, have them take their sticks with them. When they see a book on the shelf that interests them, have them put the stick in next to the book and then remove the book. Keep the stick in place until the student either decides to check the book out or put it back in the right spot. This works in the classroom library as well.

Pick a Partner: If a partner is necessary for an activity, choose one stick. That person then gets to either pick another stick from the jar and those two become partners OR that person can choose a partner from the group.

Book Marks: These sticks also make great bookmarks for reading books and workbooks.

Line Order: Sometime students need some help lining up. Instead of allowing them to just line up, pull one name at a time and have them line up as you call their names.

ABC Order: Use the names on the sticks to practice alphabetical order. This can be done using all the sticks or just some of them.  Hand out 3 or 4 sticks to small groups and have them put them in alphabetical order.

Interested in other  ideas for the classroom? Try these:


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