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This activity was inspired by a bag of mini marshmallows I saw sitting in my pantry. As you can see, I don't need much to get inspired. I added some colorful straws and some leftover packing foam to create a simple activity that combines fine motor skills and art. You can even do this without the marshmallows if you don't have any around. Simply pushing, twisting and bending straws into the foam will keep kids busy while they are creating this simple sculpture.
You will need:
Piece of foam
Often when I get a package, it contains some packing foam inside. I usually try and save as much as I can to use for future activities. Packing foam is great for fine motor activities as it offers resistance when kids try and push items into it. For the first part of this activity, kids will be pushing straws into the foam. If your child finds this tricky, make sure they are holding the straw near the bottom. If they are trying to push in the straw by holding the top, the straw will bend and may not go into the foam.
Now comes the really fun part: Have your child try and push a mini marshmallow on to the straw. This can be challenging for little fingers. If your child attempts to push a marshmallow on a straw but doesn't poke through the center of the marshmallow, the marshmallow will break. This happened to my daughter a few times before she got the hang of it. Once a marshmallow is on the straw it can be pushed down to whatever length your child desires.
We used flexible straws that bent near the top. Here, my daughter bent her straw to attach a marshmallow.
She then worked on attaching another straw and marshmallows on the other side of the foam. She wanted to see if she could connect the straws and pushed both ends into one marshmallow.
She then bent some other straws and pushed them into the foam to complete her sculpture. It was great to see how she used ordinary household objects to create art. My favorite kinds of activities are those that use items I already have it home and don't require a lot of set up time. This is a great one to try on those days when you need a few minutes to get dinner ready or take a phone call.