This little activity is a play on old fashioned tinker toys. Building enhances problem solving and fine motor skills. It teaches kids persistence and focus. I would recommend this activity for older preschoolers and elementary age children.
You need the following items:
Small marshmallows, I used the crusty ones at the bottom of the container.
Connectors can be toothpicks (for elementary kids), drinking straws (which are safer, but a little difficult to work with because of their larger size) or coffee stirrers. Be sure to provide supervision and set guidelines so everyone is safe.
The coffee stirrers were my choice.
You can cut them to whatever length you like, which provides an opportunity to talk about short, long, longest.
Have your child experiment with the materials.
We tried the small ones and scrunched a couple together to try to get them to stick. But they just didn’t work well.
The large ones worked much better because they provided more space to place the sticks. However, don’t tell your children this. Let them experiment with the materials and decide for themselves what strategies they want to try. If they seem stuck, you might offer a suggestion. But for the most part…
Let them be the problem solvers! If it collapses that’s great, because they can learn from the experience and try again.
Here it is! Quick take a picture before it falls!!!
It drives me crazy that the tower in the photo is wonky. But it is the process that children learn from; a perfect product or structure in the end is not the objective. The objective is for children to learn from experimenting, trying different strategies, experiencing the consequences, adjusting, and trying again.
Have fun building together!
“Tinkering with Tots” is linked to the following wonderful blogs: