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 –
- help kids understand and relate to the architectural details in their own house, school etc
- enhance understanding of three dimensional design
- help understand balance, proportion, shapes
- enhance fine motor skills
- 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.
- With Marshmellows
- With Candy/Popsicle sticks or Craft Sticks
- Go big with cardboard boxes
- 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.