Play and theme-based learning with our children

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Foam Packing Peanuts + Glue = Sculpture

Being a busy parent with an infant, I love the convenience of online shopping, but don’t always enjoy the packing material collateral. My favorite packing materials are long sheets of paper, since they’re perfect table cover for messy projects. My least favorite are foam packing peanuts since their recycling potential is more limited.  So today, I want to see if I can put them to use and hand my son a batch of packing peanuts plus glue. I invite him to get busy making whatever he wants. I set him up outside and let him run with it.
It was only after watching him for a few minutes that I see the full advantage in this simple-minded idea. Reflecting on many of our gluing projects before, he loves to use TOO MUCH glue. But with this project, there’s no such thing as too much!
He squeezes the glue again and again, as much as he wants. The actual building up of foam peanuts is a clear second in priority to more and more squeezing and drizzling of glue. The foam peanuts are coated, and his fingers are sticky.
They’ve become so sticky, that he’s not able to make much progress on the actual sculpting part. So I ask him if he’d like to wash his hands, and get some help with the sculpting. He wants both.
Together, we make our “Dr. Seuss Castle”.  OK, fine, this isn’t high-level art. But it’s an easy way to upcycle, and at least temporarily our castle gets the honor of being our dining table center piece.
Let us know if you’ve found clever ways to reuse packing materials! 

This post first appeared as a Two Ingredient Tuesday on the blog


  1. Kids really can get creative with anything. Foam really is a great material to make things out of. There is a reason that they use it for packing shipping items. It is very durable, and it is very light. When you are making a sculpture, you don't have to worry as much about it tipping over due to it not weighing anything. I would like to see a sculpture this good make out of noodles.

  2. This will in fact lead to forming a cocoon around the person lying on it as it conforms to the body shape. The foam area not affected by the body heat tend to remain firm and hard.
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