I had blogged about this activity earlier (https://myfourboysandme.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/art-in-the-bathroom/)…but the foam pieces in our bathroom had been sitting closed up in a box for the last few months. Day before, when my cousin got us a huge BAGFUL of cool art and craft stuff – including pre-cut colorful foam sheets, i decided it was time to pull out the foam pieces once again. Earlier I had cut up blue and purple sheets of foam but this time I decided to be generous with colour and cut up a bunch of geometric shapes in green, bright yellow, crimson red and orange too. Instead if the bathroom i moved the venue to the balcony – where we have a plexiglass sheet running around the railing. i put the foam shapes into a bowl and filled it partly with water to get all the pieces wet (otherwise they will not stick to the plexiglass … in the bathroom, the wall is wet so i don’t need to wet the pieces). I called the kids and they were so excited that they got to work straight away. My youngest fellow who is now 2 yrs old joined in too…and unlike a few months ago where he was just happy about putting random pieces on the wall and pulling them off, this time he was suddenly into making things.
What I really liked about the activity this time was the dialogue that accompanied it. The boys discussed what they were making, talking aloud through the process.
They made suggestions to each other, and a few times Amu called out to Nish for guidance when he was not sure about something.
I was quite impressed to see the little fellow come up with quite a realistic cement mixer. He even put a smaller wheel onto the larger wheel to make it look more authentic (i think this was partly inspired by a felt board fire-truck we have made that they can construct on their own).
In general the activity was great for: (1) fine motor skills (2) imagination (3) planning and implementation of a concept (4) collaboration and cooperation (5) scaffolding (6) familiarization of shapes and colors
As i picked up the pieces and was about to take the box back inside Sid called out and said “Let it stay here…we want to do this again tomorrow”
While the kids had all enjoyed this activity before, I felt they were able to get something different out of it this time. I am sure this can be used with older kids too …it’s a lot like block play I suppose…starting with randomly attaching blocks, to building simple structures to making more complex creations and having conversations evolve around them as kids engage in making meaning!