Sponge Towers and Stamps

Sponge Towers (3)

Large kitchen sponges are easy to buy cheaply and in bulk, so consider stocking up the next time you’re at the store. I love keeping a few in the craft bin because they always come in handy, and not just for watery outdoor summer play.

Veronika and I found two fun ways to play with them this winter afternoon! First, I cut several of the sponges into strips so they made almost a soft foam version of Jenga blocks! I showed her to stack these into layers, and she loved helping add to each strata as our tower grew taller.

Sponge Towers (2)

And of course she loved knocking the sponges over.

Sponge Towers (4)

She also came up with her own way to stack them, simply one strip atop another, and I loved watching her concentration!

Sponge Towers (1)

Note: If building up the Jenga-style towers is too tough for your toddler, you can also make simple shape blocks. Aside from the obvious opportunity to talk about shapes or short by shape, toddlers will no doubt find many uses for these soft (danger-free!) blocks.

Sponge Blocks (2)

They were great fun for hauling around in her dump truck…

Sponge Blocks (4)

…or teaching an early intro to simple patterns, like alternating pink and blue.

Sponge Blocks (5)

When the stacking was done, we still had a few sponges left over so I wanted to use them for more of an artsy craft. Sponges make perfect “stamps” for painting and since we’re so near to Valentine’s Day, I cut them into heart shapes.

Sponge Heart Stamping (2)

These made great prints, and Veronika was especially intrigued with the fact that the color that appeared on the paper wasn’t the yellow or blue of the sponge…

Sponge Heart Stamping (3)

…but red paint! So this accidentally turned into a quick lesson on cause and effect.

Sponge Heart Stamping (4)

Want more ways to play with DIY sponge blocks? Check out what big brother Travis was doing with them 4 years ago!

Sponge Heart Stamping (5)


Kids’ Hearts Valentine Gift

Kids Hearts (5)

The kids gave daddy their hearts for Valentine’s Day – literally! This is a great craft for siblings to work on together, and results in a beautiful keepsake for any family member.

First, I wanted the kids to each paint “their” heart, so I cut two heart shapes from sturdy white paper (older kids can do their own cutting), and set out different colors of paint. But neither kid wanted to get messy! So I slipped the hearts into plastic zip-top bags and squirted in their requested colors of paint: peach and green.

Kids Hearts (2)

The kids loved smearing the paint on through the bag. Veronika loved that she made circles of paint as she pressed, and Travis loved that he could cover the heart completely without getting a drop of paint on his fingers, my neat boy.

Kids Hearts (3)

I set the hearts aside to dry.

Kids Hearts (4)

Meanwhile, I removed the mat from inside a frame and traced it onto red construction paper instead. Once the hearts dried, I wrote each child’s name on the one they had painted, then glued to the red mat.

Kids Hearts (1)

Write a sweet message along the top or bottom, replace inside the frame, and then wait for the big smile on your recipient’s face!

Kids Hearts (6)