The power of simple building materials for kids should never be underestimated. Kids are creative and amazingly imaginative. I am always in awe of the inventions made from practically no materials!
Their developing minds are ripe for building and creating. Last week we had an unfortunate incident with marshmallows. I introduced what I thought was a brilliant and simple invitation to build. I set out a tray, a bowl of toothpicks, and a bowl of mini marshmallows.
Then this happened with the simple building materials…
With little self-regulation my 5 and, particularly, my 3.5 year old challenged me by wanting to eat most of the core simple building materials. They'd build a “cool structure” then with great joy eat their “cool structure”. Admittedly I became frustrated with my sons, or maybe with myself.
How could I expect them NOT to want to eat the marshmallows? I hated to squash their joy but I ended the activity sooner than I anticipated that afternoon. That evening I was determined to conjure up better, simple building materials for kids (at least my kids), edible or not. Here is the list I generated from my brainstorm.
Simple Building Materials for Kids
Edible Simple Building Materials
- Grapes (check out this great building activity using grapes from The Artful Parent)
- Cheese cubes
- Beans (soaks overnight)
- Gumdrops like this fun building activity over at Tinkerlab
Non-Edible Simple Building Materials
- Mini Corks
- Mini Styrofoam Cubes
- Soap (Glycerine Transparent Soap works well. I love this Soap Sculpture from The Artful Parent!)
Create the Invitation to Build with Simple Building Materials
- Simple Tray (to create a workspace)
- Toothpicks (from your kitchen)
- Building material (any one of the above, or dream up one of your own)
For further engineering learning, check out this post The BEST Books for Little Architects