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The Joy of Constructing – With Cardboard Boxes, Lego, Sticks, Bamboo…anything!

Construction makes for a stress relieving, enterprising and creative indoor activity especially when the temperatures outside are aiming higher and higher… Sigh!

Whether it is with building blocks like Lego or something as inexpensive as cardboard boxes,  they are great  tools for play and learning, in that, they –

  1. help kids understand and relate to the architectural details in their own house, school etc
  2. enhance understanding of three dimensional design
  3. help understand balance, proportion, shapes
  4. enhance fine motor skills
  5. encourage team-play (this activity works well in a group too)

Pari has developed quite a liking for building with blocks these days. 

Besides the plastic and wooden blocks, she (along with her friend, Sama) recently made a beautiful fairy castle with waste cardboard boxes that we've been hoarding for a while now. Soap boxes, medicine boxes, paper glass, long incense box – they used all shapes and sizes. The pile before this was used up to make a city skyline.

Before she set out to build, we discussed briefly about balance, shapes – which shape represents what. For example, the long incense box looks like it could be a bridge. The cylindrical paper glass could be a chimney etc.

To make the fairy castle…

She first painted the boxes with acrylic colour. Once the first basic coat was dry, she added the design details with glitter glue, markers, paint brush etc. She also used some multi-media elements like stickers, stars, ribbons, caps, bells etc. 

The first part of this activity, which is – painting the boxes and adding details is an artistic journey in itself. 
The soap boxes, cosmetic boxes and medicine boxes provide an interesting 3D canvas to work on.

The second part of the process – gluing the boxes on a base, and on each other, asks for attention and patience.

The kids learn to be attentive about balancing the boxes. They have to ensure the stability of the building while placing and replacing the boxes to attain the structure they desire. . 

They also used tape in places where the glue won't dry soon enough and the piece needed more support.

They learn to be patient while the glue dried and before they could move on to the next block. 

I was delightfully surprised to see that Pari not only worked diligently on it but she would not be easily satisfied with what she made. She went on adding little embellishments here and there long after her castle was completed.

Looking at her effort and spirits, I have to chew/strike off those words that I wrote here (about her hurry to finish off a work). I'm sorry, Pari. I have no right to sit on judgement on anybody and least of all – on you. I take back my words, my little talented artist.(mamma smiles!)

The joy, mirth and satisfaction of a job well done reflects in the eyes – through my little artist's soul !

Sharing some more 'out-of-the-box' construction activities that I found around the web and on blogs that I like.

  1. With Marshmellows

  2. With Candy/Popsicle sticks or Craft Sticks

  3. Go big with cardboard boxes

  4. With Soap and Toothpicks

Any other interesting construction ideas for kids that you would like to share with us?

Update on July 14, 2011

This post is featured on Art for Little Hands as the No: 1 Child centered Art

Link Party Thursdays

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Thanks for visiting my blog and for sharing the link. How beautiful and colorful Pari’s construction is! I love her facial expression, satisfaction with a job well done! :)

  • Rashmie Jaaju July 13, 2011, 5:53 am

    Kristi,
    Thank you for visiting and sharing your comment. Yeah, I love capturing the expressions of a child engrossed in her work/world…
    Always so interesting to observe…
    Well, children ARE interesting themselves. Aren’t they? :)

  • Ashu July 13, 2011, 6:21 am

    Loving this fairy castle Pari.I just loved the colour combination and glittering effect which is given to the building.Pari its like one fairy has made castle for another fairy.

    • Rashmie Jaaju July 13, 2011, 6:50 am

      Ashu, my friend, thank you for stopping by and sharing your comment. I’ll have Pari read this and in fact reply to your message. :) She’s developed quite a flair for typing and expressing her thoughts these days and writes comments to me on this blog, which is actually ‘her’ blog too…!

    • Parinita July 13, 2011, 7:03 am

      Ashu auntie
      thank you
      for your mail i also loved
      my castle
      too.you are so cute auntie.parinita

    • Parinita July 13, 2011, 7:14 am

      kristi auntie
      i enjoy making this caste
      i loved my caste it is so beaudifull
      and i love you auntie.parinita

  • Srishti July 13, 2011, 8:46 am

    This is Wow !! What a beautiful castle…As I said Pari and “Janu Ma” make a wonderful pair :). These blog posts are a perfect example of your collaborative effort !!!

  • Laura@art4littlehands July 14, 2011, 1:33 pm

    What a beautiful structure. I love how she painted the boxes so unique and beautiful. I am amazed with her talent.

  • Laura@art4littlehands July 14, 2011, 1:45 pm

    I featured you on my blog just now!

  • Natalie July 27, 2011, 2:21 am

    What a terrific project. Pari is very patient indeed. Anna does love to build but she doesn’t care to embelish her creations – she can’t wait to use them in pretend play.

    • Rashmie Jaaju July 28, 2011, 4:43 am

      Dear Natalie,
      Yes, Pari is patient at times and at other times, she too, wants to hurry up through the project so she can play with it. :)
      It all depends on her mood at the time.
      Thank you for stopping by to have a chat :)

  • Etna August 27, 2011, 9:26 pm

    Me encanta tu blog, y esta es una idea estupenda!!
    Por sierto el castillo quedo lindisimo!
    Muchos besitos y gracias por compartir estas interesantes ideas… tomo nota para cuando mi pequeño tenga uno añitos mas ;)

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