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Toddler Talk: Styrofoam & Toothpicks

When my husband and I are getting things done around the house, my little one is really interested in what we are doing. We recently redecorated her room, which involved hanging some artwork on the walls. She wanted so badly to hammer away with the nails just like us. She’s not quite at the point where we can let her loose with a box of nails and a heavy hammer, though, so I looked for something else she could try her hand at.

In a box of old Christmas decorations, I found a styrofoam, flat-topped cone—the type you can decorate, yourself, with hot glue and doodads. (They sell all sorts of shapes and sizes at craft stores ... not just tree-shaped ones). And, upstairs in our junk drawer is a box of old toothpicks. What I came up with is not quite the same as hammering nails into the wall, but it’s close!

Taking a Sharpie to the styrofoam cone, I drew dots of various sizes all over. I showed her how to aim the toothpick for the dot and stick it into the styrofoam. She loved the target practice and began to use her pincer fingers to deftly pick up the toothpicks and stick them into the center of the dots. We hadn’t practiced this sort of hand-eye coordination before, so both of us were thrilled to see her get the hang of it. Do this craft with your little one to encourage focus, aim and hand-eye coordination.

What you need:

styrofoam shape of medium to large size



What you do:

1. Draw dots of various sizes all over the styrofoam.

2. Show your little one how to aim the toothpick for the colored areas.

3. Watch as she gets the hang of making the bull’s eye!

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