Yasmeen Kamrani Sallam
Invitation to Build with Sticky Foam Cubes
This STEM invitation has four ways to use the Colorations Foam Cubes from Discount School Supply.
Colorations® Sticky STEM Foam Cubes come in 300 different sized pieces. They are self-adhesive foam cubes that promote creative building for art projects, STEM activities, sorting, patterns, and more! Here are the four ways to explore the foam cubes: 1) Shaving Cream 2) Craft Sticks 3) Toothpicks 4)Play-dough.
Shaving Cream & Play-dough: Building with shaving cream or play dough as a “mortar” like in bricks structures, adds a great sensory element experience for children. This simple project is actually a great lesson on structures for children, especially masonry. Activities with life lesson tie-ins, especially those related to design and science. Unlike real mortar, these materials will only hold the blocks together while the children get the idea of how brick buildings are made and why they are weak under certain types of stress. When creating innumerable models through play it fosters children’s ability to create new shapes and ideas.
Toothpicks and Craft Sticks: Simple supplies like toothpicks & craft sticks for hands-on exploration with different materials will allow children to learn and extend their knowledge and creative thinking skills. Pushing the ends of the toothpicks into the foam cubes or placing the craft sticks to build different shapes for structures gives the child the ability to test how to build a solid structure through a lot of a trial and error, to test the right amount of pieces, to create a solid base, and attain basic engineering skills through using their fine motor skills.
STEM activities are designed to engage and stretch their thinking. Introducing the engineering and design process is a natural fit due to the fact that children already like to build. There was no wrong or right way to do this invitation and the possibilities are truly endless. There is a natural progression of ‘block play’, children have to learn how to move and manipulate various shaped objects, big and small, as well as have the fine motor control to “click” them into place and by adding a tactile element to it furthers their thought process. Building helps children enhance their visual-spatial skills which is crucial for reading readiness. Encourages thinking and reasoning: These skills are what make children become well-rounded, independent and successful adults! Involves focus and patience: Children need to work slowly and carefully to be successful at creating their designs. Using the imagination boosts cognitive, academic, language and social growth. When building, the child need to decide what will or won’t work. Through building, children learn to experiment and make new discoveries about how things work. Once that masterpiece is finished, a child is so proud of their accomplishments. It increases their belief in themselves.