Architecture for Small Hands

I’ve mentioned Froebel before on this blog and his “gifts” or system of projects that he created for young children.  One of the gifts was “peas-work” – using small sticks and wet peas to create structures.  Today I gave my children (5 year old, 4 year old and 2 year old) a plate of marshmallows and toothpicks.  I built them a model structure:


At first they came up with some of their own ideas (the antenna on top of the house was an invention of my son’s) and then they sought my help to build their own houses.


(Four year old boy with help)


(Five year old girl with only a little help)

The two year old was just happy to poke the marshmallows with sticks.


This project took about 30 minutes including eating time.  After they ate their marshmallows we took turns naming shapes and trying to construct them with our toothpicks.  After a few shapes the kids began suggesting objects as well such as a swimming pool.  This led to an interesting discovery as the two year old used toothpicks to represent people in an imaginary pool, the four year old created something like an oval, the five year old built a rectangle to be a view of the pool from above whereas I drew a side view of the pool with the water in it.  It was fascinating to see how we each interpreted the subject differently with only a few sticks!

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