One good thing about the never ending renovations is that there is always a steady stream of interesting boxes, packaging, and building left overs to play with. Recently our shower screen came packed with some big, foam boards. Of course I stashed them away somewhere safe because I knew they would be good for something, sometime.
The other day Noah lost his mind because he couldn’t make the blocks stand up the way he wanted to make a house for an animal. While I tried (in vain) to explain why I couldn’t change the laws of physics to make the block sit just right I had an idea! I knew just what to do with one of those foam boards!
It stared out as a fun painting activity.
Noah went to town with his foam brushes and rollers until the whole board was covered and we set it aside to dry.
The next day I set the foam board up on the table and collected a few bits and pieces similar to those Noah had been playing with when he’d had the melt down. Some animals, some elves, some plastic gems and some blocks. Then I went outside and collected a bundle of small sticks, a few flowers and some sprigs of grass.
By now I had Noah’s attention, and as he climbed up on his chair I stuck a few sticks into the foam and said…
“Do you remember the other day when the blocks wouldn’t stay where you wanted them? Well you can poke things into this foam and they will stand up!”
“Oh!” was the only response I got as he immediately started poking the sticks into the foam…
He poked in lines of sticks and arranged blocks to make a house for the horse, and then one for the lions.
He trotted back and forth gathering some other bits and pieces, some extra people, and more animals and added more and more things to the scene.
Noah is three and this combination of building and imagination is right up his alley. Plus it put his fine motor skills to the test with all the poking and it saved me from another melt down!
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
rebecca at thisfineday says
That is adorable and there are so many levels of creativity here! Love this. I can see my kids totally getting into making one of these. Thanks for the post!
What a great idea! I reckon this would keep my little man entertained for a while too…
Lucy @ Bake Play Smile says
What a clever way to use a foam board! Practical but fun… I love it!!! :-)
Kate Lloyd says
What a great activity! I bet he was proud of what he’d made. The painting effect looks gorgeous too!
Looks great! I’m always joking that my 3 year old’s favourite activities are those which try to defy the laws of physics and gravity…
Needless to say, we have a lot of meltdowns. She likes doing things like building block towers – and trying to balance a block on top of a pyramid piece…. Hmm, not gonna work!
Just showed her this and she said, “Can I play with that little boy?”
Awww… ‘that little boy’ would love to have a friend to play with, especially one who understands his need to change the laws of physics! LOL
Yes! Kindred spirits :)
Kate - An Everyday Story says
Love love love! :)
[email protected] Little Bookcase says
Beautiful. I’m sure I’ve got some foam here. I can just imagine Cammy created some sort of Enchanted Forest :)
Danya Banya says
Nae peters says
I love this combination
Such a clever idea to create and make a little imaginary play scene
thank you for sharing your great experience! love it…NE
Hello there!! :D I have just subscribed to your website… I LOVE it! I am hoping to start a little in home Preschool and your ideas are fabulous! Do you homeschool your children? I homeschooled mine ( now 13 and 11) but this year they headed to school to try it out! I hate it and want them back!! Luckily I have a one year old to keep me busy!! Thank you for your wonderful ideas! I’m so inspired! :D
Hi Tiffany, so pleased to have you here!
We did consider homeschooling our kids, but in the end we decided their needs would be better met at our small local primary school. Some days I am sad that they are not at home learning with me, but I am also glad to see them loving school and growing both at school and at home.
SO fun! I love it and so will my 2 year old son! Thanks for sharing.
So much fun!! Love this :)
Rachel | Racheous says
I love the process involved and the versatility of the foam board once it is created. So awesome seeing little ones be able to get involved in the production of items for their play. I really like the natural items in the foam. Great idea, thank you for sharing!
Elise @ Creative Play Central says
Noah created such a fantastic play scene. Combining the animals, blocks and natural resources makes for a magical place.
[email protected] says
Absolutely love this Kate. The idea of painting and then with poking the sticks…genius and such a great way for toddlers to explore without getting frustrated. Yay, another idea with sticks for my programming this week ;) Pinned!
I need to get my hands on a large block of foam, my daughter just looked over my shoulder and wants to make one of these!
This is so creative!! Next time I will definitely hold on to those big foam boards, I have NEVER come up with a way to use them (besides letting the boys destroy them LOL). Thanks for sharing :-)