A lot of mothers dread arts and crafts time with their 3- to 4-year-olds. Images of little fingers painting the walls and covering the couch in glitter may come to mind. And don't forget -- although you'd like to -- all the damage your little "Edward Scissorhands" can do when you put a pair of shears in his hands. If you can muster up the courage to allow your tot some creative time, foam crafts are a slightly less messy option. Packages of foam can be found in an assortment of colors, some of them already cut into shapes.
Does your little chef enjoy helping you create culinary masterpieces in the kitchen? Use foam to create play food for your preschooler. Paint the edges of white foam brown to create bread. Cut yellow squares for cheese, red circles for tomatoes and brown circles for meat. Brown circles painted with black dots create chocolate chip cookies. See what other creative ideas your preschooler can dish out. Just make sure she doesn't try to eat her foam food creations.
Ready to stamp it up? Cut out simple foam shapes such as hearts, stars and flowers. Glue the shapes to a block of wood or cardboard and suddenly you have a ready made stamp. Preschoolers can use paint or ink to stamp away on paper -- and hopefully not on your white cabinets. Want to make this craft even simpler? Ready-made foam shapes are available at many craft stores.
If Christmas is around the corner, allow your preschooler to create foam ornaments to decorate your tree. Cut foam into a Christmas tree pattern and decorate with buttons. Use three white foam circles to create a snowman that your child can decorate. You can easily punch a hole in the foam and thread a ribbon through for hanging. The unexpected bonus is you won't have to worry about these ornaments shattering when they hit the floor -- and they will!
Want to encourage your little one to use his problem-solving skills? Have him illustrate a picture of his choice on a piece of white foam. Then you or your supervised preschooler can cut the foam into jigsaw pieces. Your child now has a ready-to-use puzzle that he created himself. Foam comes in various sizes so choose an appropriate size for your child's ability. Note: The bigger the puzzle, the longer you're likely to keep your tot entertained.
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