Monday, April 8, 2013

Art with Kids - Sculptures with Marshmallows and Toothpicks

At our house, sadly, marshmallows sit around for months or even years before they get hard and thrown out.  We usually buy them for a single purpose (ours were from last summer making smores with grandma and grandpa).  Because of my corn allergy, I'm not able to have corn syrup, which is one of the main ingredients in marshmallows.  My poor boys don't get much of them, or popcorn. Sad.
But I came across this fun activity and I thought it would be perfect for my little 3 year old's hands, and use up a bag of almost-stale marshmallows. Unfortunately, he saw a picture of someone else doing this activity, and got it in his head what his creation was supposed to look like. Because of that, he was very frustrated when it started to lean and eventually collapse on one side.

Tips:
  - you'll go through a lot of toothpicks.  I purchased mine a few years ago in bulk for a Christmas project. I think these are packs of 800. We didn't even go through half a box, but if you have more kids, or longer play time, you might.
  - tall structures don't work as well.
  - don't have a predetermined idea of what you'd like it to look like, and especially don't show/tell the child what you anticipate it to look like. Let their imagination run. (I'm disappointed that my boy saw the picture, and couldn't get that out of his head to experiment more.)
  - try adding 10 or more toothpicks to one marshmallow to see what comes from it.
  - marshmallows will dry out within a day.  You may want to optimize on this to build more on harder marshmallows.

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