R was 16 months old at the time of this activity
I’m a Builder by Jean Warren – R learned a new song today that we sang while practicing hammering. R enjoyed saying tap tap tap while she hammered! Singing songs is a great way to develop vocabulary with young children. With older kids, pause to explain the meaning of key words to ensure understanding.
1. Magnetic Popsicles
I put strips of magnetic tape on the back of craft sticks and attached them to our fridge for R to play with. I encouraged her to make shapes, but as usual, her favourite part was taking the sticks off. I would make a shape (square, rectangle, or triangle) and tell her the name of the shape. I would then take her finger and together we would trace the outline of the shape. She would then pull off the craft sticks one at a time and I counted aloud as she did so.
a. Show your child an outline photo of a shape such as a triangle. Have him/her replicate the shape on the fridge using the craft sticks.
b. Practice counting. Discuss how one craft stick creates one side and how the point where two craft sticks meet, create a corner. Have an older child count the number of sides and corners in each shape and record it on a table you have created for him/her.
2. Sponge Cabin
I cut a couple of sponges up into strips to use for building. Some how, when I cut the strips, I created a static charge on the sponge strips and so they behaved in a really funny manner. When stacked, the top strip would fly off of the tower. R had a good laugh when the strips would fly off while we attempted to build with them. This would have been a great teachable moment for older children to explore static electricity and its effects.
a. Sorting and Patterns. By using more than one colour of sponge, encourage the child to make towers of one colour or patterned towers.
b. Practice counting. Show the child how to count floors on each tower. Have the child challenge him/herself to make taller and taller towers.
3. Hammer Time
Using a pool noodle cut in half (two parts stacked one on top of the other) and golf tees, I made a simple hammering activity for R to practice her coordination and motor skills. She had a lot of fun with this! As mentioned earlier, while she banged the golf tees, I sang, “I’m a Builder”.
a. Practice basic shapes. Using a large piece of styrofoam and many more golf tees, have the child hammer in the golf tees in a variety of shapes. Show a picture of a shape, and ask the child to recreate it with the golf tees.
Check out the rest of the Building Structures Theme:
1. A Bubbling Build
2. Tools of the Trade
3. Stomping Around Town
4. Dramatic Castles, Sticky Houses and Thread-able Noodles
5. Sponges, Sticks and Pegs