Styrofoam Structures {A Building Station}

Styrofoam Structures 2After a very successful trip to Urban Source this morning, we had everything we needed to set up a little activity that’s been on my mind for a long while now… A building station!

IMG 2616This project is perfect for when you have some packaging styrofoam sitting around in your garage, but you can also find styrofoam {and floral foam} pieces at places like Urban Source, as well as at craft stores and dollar stores.  (Perhaps knowing that the pieces can be used again and again will help you feel less guilty about purchasing styrofoam in the first place?  I know…. It’s a stretch, but I’m trying.)

In addition to putting out our styrofoam pieces, we put out all kinds of wooden dowels, popsicle sticks, sucker sticks, and matchsticks, as well as some golf tees, pipe cleaners, rivets, and feathers.  With Halloween not far behind us, we also put out a couple of pumpkin carving knives and a regular children’s knife too.

IMG 2622Of course, when you’re constructing, safety’s got to come first – so goggles were also included. ☺

IMG 2635Instead of giving instructions, I simply asked Gracen, “Do you want to build something?” After an enthusiastic “YES!”, she got to work.  

IMG 2639I was pretty amazed with how quickly she figured out that the sticks could be used to attach two styrofoam pieces to each other.  She worked away on her masterpiece, concentrating first on the top portion, and later on the sides.

IMG 2642The only tricky part was the whole cutting thing…  While I do let her cut things when we cook together, she hasn’t quite mastered the sawing method yet.  Instead, she opts for pushing her knife straight through the objects, which may work well with bananas, but doesn’t work so well with styrofoam.

IMG 2658With cutting being a little too challenging, she moved onto enhancing her styrofoam disc instead of deconstructing it.  I found it very interesting that she began using the rivets as enclosures for other materials.

IMG 2665After a good long hour of constructing, Grae decided it was time to tip her structure over on its side to do some more ‘work’ there.

IMG 2673Here’s what her structures looked like after nearly and hour and 20 minutes of play.  Pretty cool, right?  

At this point, she asked me what her project was called, and I explained that it could be called a structure. Her response? “Stuc-ture? Dis is a house.”  Okay then, goose.

Grae’s beloved building station has since been tidied and the building has been put on hold, but only with the promise that it’ll stay out on her toy box for more play tomorrow, which is just fine with me.  More than fine, actually…

There are so many great posts  about styrofoam structures that I don’t remember where the inspiration behind this activity originally came from, but check out this post, this post, this post, and this post for more great styrofoam ideas.

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6 thoughts on “Styrofoam Structures {A Building Station}

  1. Deborah says:

    I just happen to have one cube of Styrofoam just like that left over – looks like we are going to have some fun with it!!

    • jkossowan says:

      Oh, the kiddos are going to LOVE it, Deborah! We’re on day 4 of having it out and my little girl spends a good amount of time adding to her design each day. 🙂

  2. grok78 says:

    Oh my word…. I LOVE THIS! Going to run and pin it shortly. Thanks so much for sharing a fun, engaging idea for the kiddos

  3. andiejaye says:

    i’m loving the safety glasses! and such interesting scultpures. i love to see children being offered open-ended activities like this! thanks so much for linking up to tip-toe thru tuesday!

  4. I love this set up! Thanks so much for sharing at Discover & Explore. I’m featuring you today. http://www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/invitations-to-create-for-little-engineers.html

  5. Well of course googles make everything more fun! Love this idea for so many reasons! Thanks for linking up at Discover & Explore – we’re featuring you this week: http://www.kcedventures.com/blog/materials-for-building-kids-and-construction

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