If you’re working through some hands on science activities with your kids, building structures is a great way for kids to experiment with planning and constructing. It’s a super opportunity to explore new materials and tools too. Now, I know that some people get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about touching styrovoam, but the kids here always love building and constructing with styrofoam and a handful of craft sticks.
It’s amazing to see what kids can do with a few basic tools and free reign to build and create whatever their hearts desire. Even more amazing is how long kids will work on a project like this. The hooligans were busy for the better part of a morning building these structures, and they came back to the activity after their afternoon naps.
Cutting the styrofoam and poking craft sticks and golf tees into it provided their little fingers and hands with a real work out. Fine motor and co-ordination skills were tested, and critical thinking came into play as they planned and constructed their structures!
What a fun and inexpensive activity to keep toddlers and preschoolers entertained, thinking and learning!
Isn’t it great when a spur-of-the-moment, open-ended activity that ended up being WAY bigger and better than I’d imagined it would be! Don’t you love it when that happens?
Recently Jamie from hands on: as we grow wrote about the fun that her boys had with their styrofoam destruction activity, and I immediately went to the garage and rescued a couple of large pieces of styrofoam that I’d added to our growing “dump run” pile.
For our “constructing with styrofoam” activity we used:
For this activity, I set out the styrofoam along with some golf tees, craft sticks, chopped up drinking straws, some rocks (hammers) and a few “saws” (a play dough knife, a cake decorating tool and a plastic knife).
Now, maybe it was because I just happened to have two construction-lovin’ boys here today, but this may have been one of our most popular activities yet.
I didn’t give them any instruction other than to tell them how the “tools” could be used to secure the styrofoam blocks together. They wasted no time getting right to work and straight into full concentration mode:
and hammering some more. (that was their favourite part)
They deconstructed and reconstructed,
with determined looks on their faces.
They worked away for over an hour, in a flurry of busy activity, until they felt that their projects were complete, and even then they returned to the table through-out morning and afternoon to tweak a piece here or there and to hammer in another golf tee or to cut another piece of foam.
They were so proud of their finished projects.
What a hit! Simple materials, no cost and loads of creative fun!
If you’re looking for another activity similar to this one, have a look at our DIY cardboard construction set, our toilet roll structures and mosaic structures. The Hooligans had a great time making those too.
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.