Toddlers love to destroy things, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Those destructive urges often hone creativity, fine motor skills, imagination, and more. Many thanks to Bounce Back Parenting, which was the inspiration for most of the following ideas, all of which led to a great morning of destruction.
One: Rip Up Paper
First up was ripping paper, and I find that it’s easiest for Veronika if I make a small tear, then let her finish it. The ripping is great fun and it led right to…
Two: Dip Paper in Water
Veronika loved watching the changes that took place as soon as the paper hit the water. The texture changes, the color gets darker, and we even discovered that it was easier to rip! While she was at it, she wanted to pull something else apart, which led to…
Three: Tear up an Old Art Project
She couldn’t resist pulling the strands of yarn off a recent project, and then of course needed to see how those felt once wet, too. Pretty soon that led to wet fingers and toes. “It’s like a sprinkler!” she said. We quickly mopped up and headed to the living room for something a little less wet.
Four: Crumble Paper for Target Practice
I gave Veronika a few types of paper (paper towels, notepad paper) to crumple into little balls, the tinier the better. Then we could slam dunk them into a toy bin!
While that notepad was out, it was time to…
Five: Scribble on a Scribble
I made one line with a pen, then invited her to add to the drawing! Veronika loves to draw like this, so seriously that she looks like a mini studio artist. “I’m not done yet,” she told me, adding more squiggles and lines.
Six: Water on Chalk
The sun was shining, so we took our next bit of destruction outside. Chalk is fantastic because your child the instant satisfaction of watching chalk marks instantly disappear under just a little water. As a bonus, chalk is really fun to use on wet pavement.
Seven: Dry-Erase Board
Along the same vein as erasing chalk with water, other things are fun to erase, too! We headed back inside and I showed her how she could magically swipe away mommy’s dry-erase board with a paper towel.
Since she was already seated in the highchair, that led to…
Eight: High Chair Tray Scribbles
Yup, I let her draw right on that high chair tray! Use washable markers and watch your child’s eyes pop when he or she is allowed to scribble directly on the tray.
Then, simply hand over a damp paper towel, and watch the marker magically swipe away.
Nine: Styrofoam Destruction
For the grand finale in our day of destruction, I set up a block of Styrofoam on our craft tray, along with her toy tools, and told her she could chisel away. It as tough for her to crack into the block, so I made a few divots and holes and then she could work on making them deeper. She even tested out the real screwdriver (but be sure to supervise any play with grown-up tools closely).
She loved the tiny pieces that resulted, more so than the act of destruction, pretending to “feed” them to her stuffed puppy.
Chances are that toddlers will love clean-up from this activity, too, when it’s time to pull out the vacuum and get up all those Styrofoam bits!
What’s your favorite destructive thing to do with a toddler? Please share in the comments!