Monday, January 16, 2017

Safer Tool for Pokey Pinning Pages!

Lookee, lookee, lookee, I've got something to Show and Tell! See what I stumbled upon! A new, safer, pokey pin tool! More like a pokey pin pen, though it doesn't start out as such. In the hands of teachers and students they become a great pinning page tool, one that is much safer than the push pins which are usually used.

First of all, you need to know what pokey pin activities are. Sometimes they are called poke-a-page or pinning pages, as well as pokey pins. They are printables of pictures, words, or numbers, drawn with a dotted line. Kids usually use a push pin to poke a hole in each dot, creating a pretty cool image of micro dots of light when the paper is placed on a window– sort of like a constellation in the night sky. It is a satisfying sensory experience to poke those holes, and it provides great practice for fine muscle control, too.

Here is a pinning page from From the Pond. There is a link below.

The problem for me was that I worried about my kiddos using push pins. I have EXCELLENT classroom behaviors 100% of the time... well, 90%... well... most of the time. But even the most responsible kids in the most well run classroom can get a bit mad annoyed with each other from time to time, and all it would take would be one little impulsive swipe with a push pin in hand and Yowee! A lot of damage could be done to people and things. So only on very rare and highly supervised occasions have we done pokey pin sheets... until NOW!

They look like pens but they have tips like this–

See those little balls on the tips? They are much blunter than push pins tips, yet they go right through the paper. And they have nice handles, too– it's like holding a regular pen. You can even put a pencil grip on it for your kiddos who need it.

They are actually manicurists' tools. I think they use them to marbleize polish on nails and place little gems. Don't even ask me how I stumbled upon them. I'm not a glamour nail kinda girl– I get a pedi two or three times a year, but my shopping does take me on mysterious, meandering paths sometimes.

We use them at the table with a carpet square underneath like this.

Or on our tummies on the floor carpet like this.

Our school OT says the tummy style provides particularly good fine muscle practice. And it provides a nice movement break as well. The kids really like doing pokey pins this way.

Usually the directions for doing pinning pages say to use two pieces of paper– one with the image copied on it, and then a black piece of construction paper, paper clipped under the first. The holes of light do show up better on the window when the paper is dark. I can't stand wasting two pieces of paper, however, so sometimes I just copy the pinning picture on a regular piece of white or colored paper.

Do you know about colored paper place mats? They are colored on one side and white on the other. They have all sorts of uses for teachers... like when you do folded paper projects. They are bigger than 8.5 x 11, but when you trim them down to standard copy paper size they will go through the copier. I can copy the pinning image on the white side, and then when it is done the kids can turn it over to have black. Also, the copier ink even shows up on the dark side, so you can run it that way as well. I've used both black and dark blue with great success. With their scalloped edges I have also used them to mat kids artwork. They come in 100 page packages for about five dollars at stores like Gorden Food Service. They are useful to have around just so you can experiment with a new type of paper.

Paper placemats that are colored on one side and white on the other are
another useful type of paper to have around the classroom.

It was a very gray, cloudy day when I had the camera out, so I took this picture on our light table. You can sort of get the idea what pinning pages are all about. The "go" didn't come out too well in the picture, but they look better on a window.

And here is some more REALLY good news– these tools are quite inexpensive. Over time they have fluctuated in price on Amazon from $2 to $5 for the set. I stopped by our local beauty supply store to see if they carried similar tools, and they carry what seems to be the very same item. They cost about ten dollars though, considerably more than on Amazon. If you are in a big hurry then maybe shopping local would be a good idea, but otherwise, click on the Amazon affiliate paid link below to see them.

Pokey pin downloadables are available on TPT, of course. I especially like Mel's from From the Pond and Krissy's from Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business. You can find them by clicking below.

I hope you find these new tools useful and you and your students have lots of fun and learning with pinning pages. I would really appreciate it if you'd Pin this idea for me! I think other teachers would be especially happy to find pokey pin pens.

Now be sure to check out all the other fun Show and Tells on Forever in Fifth Grade's Linky Party. Thanks Stephanie!

Thanks for stopping by!  See you next time!


  1. That looks like so much fun! Now I want to poke a bunch of holes in something, lol.

  2. This is very cool! Thanks for sharing.
    Once a Teacher, Always a Teacher

  3. Being from the land of fifth grade, when you started talking about pokey pins, I was wondering if you were talking about something on Pinterest! Looks like fun! Thanks for linking up!

    Forever in Fifth Grade

  4. To the person who contacted me about the pokey pin tool link not working, I refreshed the link. I hope you can find them now... they actually went down in price by a few cents ;) Thanks! Kathleen


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