Kids Sculpture Projects and Ideas

Sculpture projects and ideas for kids, including toothpick sculptures, building with cardboard, wood sculptures, ice sculptures, and playdough and clay ideas.

Shadow Tracing with Grape Sculptures

Shadow Tracing Art for Kids

We combined two of our favorite simple art activities this summer :: kids’ shadow art and grape sculptures.

This is one of the many activities from this summer that I shared on Instagram briefly but didn’t get around to writing a blog post about. Perhaps now that school has started back up, I’ll have more time to write up some of the others as well.

Or maybe we should just all go camp out on Instagram and share our creative ideas there via photos and a sentence or two and skip the whole blog writing thing…

Just kidding.

Sort of…. 

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3 Unique Ways to Use Magnetic Tiles For Kids

3 New Ways to Use Magnetic Tiles for Kids - Fridge, Sand, WaterWe have had so much fun with the magnetic tiles for kids that joined our family 6 months ago. As construction toys for kids go, they are absolutely wonderful! My kids and their friends have played more (and longer) with the magnetic shapes than with any other toy in the house, hands down.

(If we were talking outside the house, it would have to be the hammock which is not a kids’ toy at all, but gets more use than anything else outdoors. Who would’ve guessed?! The kids do everything from swing and read books in it to hang upside down and practice flips and other gymnastics-type moves.)

But back to the magnetic shapes for now…

If a friend came to me and asked for a toy recommendation for their kids right now, I’d say buy a set of magnetic tiles.

I am about to order a second set and have to restrain myself from adding a third to my shopping cart.

We like them that much. (And according to some of you, the magnetic tiles get consistent use many years (and kids) later. Good to know…)

Last time I shared 7 ways my kids use magnetic tiles (many of them on the DIY light table).

Today I wanted to share some interesting new things my kids have been doing with the magnetic tiles…. 

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Toothpick Sculptures for Kids :: 13 Fun Toothpick Construction Ideas!

Toothpick Sculptures for Kids - 17 Fun Construction Ideas to TryThe kids and I made extra colorful toothpick sculptures yesterday, using spring-colored marshmallows, colored toothpicks, and translucent pony beads.

I shared a couple of photos on Instagram, but wanted to follow up with a proper blog post, more pictures, and a round up of kids toothpick sculpture ideas.

First of all, if you haven’t tried toothpick sculptures with your kids, definitely give it a try!

It’s a construction project that can be as simple as poking a bunch of toothpicks in playdough for young children or as challenging as building a geodesic dome or tower for older kids and adults.

And with all the different great ways to build with toothpicks, everything from traditional marshmallows to Model Magic to sculpture as snack, you’re sure to find one to suit your family…. 

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A Build A Fort Kit for Kids by Fort Magic

A Build a Fort Kit for Kids by Fort MagicWe had a submarine in our house last week.

A big one.

This week it’s been a house, a tattoo parlor (I relaxed while Daphne and Maia each painted designs on my arms and shoulders), a hide-out, a store, a restaurant, a reading nook, and a place to snuggle in sleeping bags for family movie night.

The amount of pretend play in our house has always been pretty healthy, but it’s been taking a whole new level recently with the arrival of a hefty box on our doorstep.

The kids were excited to open it and find a build a fort kit for kids sent to us by Fort Magic, one of my blog sponsors…. 

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Peanut Butter Playdough (Or, how to make an edible, snail-riding, snow woman.)

Peanut Butter Playdough - (Or... how to make an edible snail-riding snow woman.)Have you made peanut butter playdough with your kids yet? It’s so quick and easy, which is a good thing since it is often requested in our home. We first made it after seeing this edible playdough post on Make and Takes several years ago and have made it regularly since. In fact, I think we’ve made peanut butter playdough three times in the last two months!

The kids make “food” with their edible playdough. Kinda funny, but the food in question was spaghetti and meatballs, hot dogs, hamburgers, and cupcakes.

And they make faces and people.

And a snail-riding snow woman. (We recently watched both The Neverending Story and um, I’m blanking on the name of the other movie we watched that had a snail as steed. Help me out someone? It’s a newish movie about a forest fairy world…)

I thought I’d share our favorite peanut butter playdough recipe as well as some recent pics of the playdough in action.

Peanut Butter Playdough Recipe

Peanut Butter Playdough Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup honey (just enough to make it stick together)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl with an electric mixer. It’s as easy as that!

Note: We’ve tried a number of variations on the peanut butter playdough, sometimes including a cup of powdered milk in place of a cup of the powdered sugar, sometimes adding cocoa powder for a more chocolate-y experience, etc, but we usually come back to this basic recipe.

However, the lovely ladies at Kids Activities Blog recently shared that you can mix peanut butter with marshmallows for a tasty, two-ingredient edible playdough. I haven’t exactly shared that newsflash with my kids yet, because I know I wouldn’t hear the end of it until we went to the store for big, puffy marshmallows and made the stuff. I won’t hold out forever, but I’m keeping that one up my sleeve for a special treat.

Peanut Butter Playdough for Kids

Once the peanut butter playdough is mixed together (usually by the kids), we divide it out between the number of children in the house at the time, placing each ball of dough on a clean plastic placemat, and let them go at it.

Peanut Butter Playdough for Kids

Sometimes they just make things with the playdough itself, sometimes they include pretzel sticks (ever since we made peanut butter pretzel nests, they think pretzels should usually accompany peanut butter playdough), sometimes toothpicks, raisins, mini-chocolate chips, etc.

Peanut Butter Playdough

As for tools, a butter knife is sometimes handy. But mostly they like to use their hands. And the garlic press (for awesome spaghetti, hair, and just plain interesting designs).

(The bowl of spaghetti and meatballs above was made with a peanut butter playdough recipe that included both powdered milk and cocoa powder, btw.)

Peanut Butter Playdough for Kids

They love modeling with the peanut butter playdough AND they love eating their peanut butter playdough creations. Even the snail-riding snow women.

Peanut Butter Playdough for Kids

Have you made peanut butter playdough? Or another edible playdough recipe?  Please share your experience, favorite recipe, link, or ideas in the comments!

P.S. For those families with peanut allergies, here’s a list of 10 edible playdough recipes on Family Corner, many of which don’t include any nuts.

Construction Toys for Kids :: 7 Ways My Kids Use Magnetic Tiles

Construction Toys for Kids - 7 Ways my Kids Use Magnetic Tiles


Building Brilliance Magnetic Shapes
are a set of construction toys that my kids have been using and loving  for the past month and a half.

And brilliant is right. These magnetic tiles are an awesome kids construction toy with sturdy, brightly colored translucent plastic that beautifully catches and filters both sunlight as well as artificial light. We especially like to use ours on our simple DIY light table.

They are brilliant in more sense than just that one, though.

Any toy, construction or otherwise, that captures my kids’ imagination day after day after day for over a month is brilliant. (I know many parents would agree with that assessment.) And it’s not just my kids, but every kid who comes to our house.

These magnetic tiles are so open-ended that they get used in all kinds of ways–not just for building castles and towers. With magnets along each of the edges, kids can construct any number of interesting shapes and the magnets help hold the tiles together. Brilliant!

Here are 7 Ways My Kids Use Their Magnetic Tiles:

  1. Construction
  2. Pretend Play
  3. Light Table Play
  4. 2-D and 3-D Design
  5. Color Mixing
  6. Exploring Magnetic Properties
  7. Building and Learning about Shapes

I want to go through this list one by one and share pictures of each in action…

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

#1 – Construction with Magnetic Tiles

This is the biggie, and obviously what the magnetic tiles were made for. I love how the variety of shapes plus the magnetic aspect of the tiles allow the kids to really get creative with their building.

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

#2 – Pretend Play with Magnetic Tiles

I wasn’t expecting this at all, but the magnetic tiles have been used nonstop for a variety of pretend play scenarios. Besides buildings and castles that are then incorporated into pretend play, they’ve been used for roads, slides, animal carousels, barns, fences, and, as you can see in the photo above, food stalls.

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

#3 – Light Table Play and Exploration with Magnetic Tiles

Yes, a lot of the play and building with the tiles have been on the light table, just because they are just so lovely in the light.

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

#4 – 2-D and 3-D Design with Magnetic Tiles

While a lot of the designing with the magnetic tiles has been three-dimensional, there’s been a fair amount of two-dimensional designing done as well.

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

#5 Color Mixing and Color Sorting with Magnetic Tiles

Pretty self explanatory, right?

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

#6 Exploring Magnetic Properties with Magnetic Tiles

How close can you get the magnets before they attract each other and click together?

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

#7 – Learning about Shapes with Magnetic Tiles

Love this! The 2-dimensional shapes of the tiles–triangles, squares, rectangles, and trapezoids–can be combined to form 3-dimensional shapes, including pyramids, cubes, and prisms.

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

I initially thought the price tag on these Building Brilliance Magnetic Tiles was a little steep. But I’m a convert. These are completely worth it!

Construction Toys for Kids Magnetic Tiles

My kids even combine them with legos and other construction toys!

You may have seen similar magnetic tile building products with different names, such as Magna-Tiles. I haven’t tried them myself, so don’t know how they compare, but can say that these particular Building Brilliance Magnetic Tiles are well made and seriously awesome. Plus their price tag is lower than the others I’ve seen (thanks, Discount School Supply!).

Discount School Supply, is one of my blog sponsors, and sent me a box of the Building Brilliance Magnetic Tiles for free to try out and review (at my request). But as always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Update: We’ve since found 3 fun NEW ways to use these magnetic tiles!

GIVEAWAY :: Building Brilliance Magnetic Tiles 48-Piece Set

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Discount School Supply is giving away a 48-Piece Set of their Building Brilliance Magnetic Shapes to one lucky winner. To enter, leave a comment to this post by Monday, February 24th at 11:59pm EST then come back up to this rafflecopter widget and tell it that you are entering the giveaway and that you left a blog comment. This giveaway is open to readers in the United States. Winner will be chosen randomly by rafflecopter and announced here on Tuesday, the 25th. Good luck!

This giveaway is now closed.

This post contains affiliate links.

11 Pictures of Snowmen + Creative Ideas for Making Your Own

10 Pictures of Snowmen - Plus ideas and inspiration for building and decorating a snowman with your kids!

Have your kids been building snowmen this winter?

Like many of you, we’ve had more than our usual snowfall recently and Maia and Daphne have been reveling in it as only kids can. They’ve been sledding, making snow angels, building (part of) an igloo, stomping around, tasting the snow, spying animal tracks in the snow, and, of course, building snowmen.

It’s been a snow extravaganza.

Pictures of Snowmen

Here’s the snowman the kids built this past week. Small, well outfitted, and ready to catch all those winter butterflies we have around here.

Pictures of Snowmen and Snow Women

Or snow woman, I should say. She had lovely miscanthus hair from the grasses in our garden and half of an evergreen leaf for a smile.

Apparently everyone in our neighborhood had the same idea (minus the miscanthus hair). As I took the short walk to the store on Friday, I saw no fewer than 15 snowmen. And that was just in the front yards. After I spied a snowman in a kayak, I knew I needed to start taking photos.

Here are 10 of those pictures of snowmen (with Maia’s snow woman above being #11):

Pictures of Snowmen

The snowmen ranged from the traditional…

Pictures of Snowmen

…to the not-so-traditional. This cool snowman dude is waving to passersby from a bench in the same yard as the two more-traditional looking snowmen in the photo above.

Pictures of Snowmen

I love the icicle hair and twisty-branch arms on this snowman. (Maia and I decided that we’re going to give our snowman icicle hair the next time we build one!) 

Pictures of Snowmen

Here’s the kayaker snowman, wearing a helmet and riding in a red kayak. It made me smile.

Pictures of Snowmen and Snow Women

This snow woman is sporting an awesome hairdo of evergreen branches and is dressed for a beach vacation.

Pictures of Snowmen

And here are the last four pictures of snowmen: one with tomato cages for arms and an elaborate hairdo or crown on his head (not sure what that is), a jolly traditional snowman, a snow woman with a very small head, and a  snowman with a pacifier in his mouth.

Which snowman is your favorite?

Colored Ice Snowman Decorations from The Artful Winter eBook by The Artful Parent

More Snowmen Ideas for Building & Decorating Your Own Creative Snowman

From Cardboard Box to Lighted Dollhouse

Make a Lighted Cardboard Dollhouse -- An easy and fun collaborative art project to do with your kids!We’ve been building and decorating dollhouses with cardboard this past week. Mostly Daphne and me, really, with a few cameo appearances by Maia. It’s been a nice change of pace from all the 2-dimensional creating we often do around here and the kids are loving the finished dollhouses!

We added stained glass windows, as we did last time, as well as a string of lights, so they are extra lovely for low-key playtime in the evening before bed or first thing in the morning.

The girls have moved their little figurines in, as well as some horses and unicorns. And made beds out of my silver flats padded with socks.

The little mail boxes you see are from the $1 Spot section of Target and have been used for delivering Valentine’s and notes between dolls.

Here’s how we made the cardboard dollhouses:

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Heart Sculptures :: A Great Valentine’s Day Craft & Gift!

Heart Sculptures -- A fun Valentine's Day craft and gift. Would make a great paperweight

We had so much fun with the plaster balloon sculptures, that we made them again the next day. This time, we (I, mostly) focused on seeing if we could shape the plaster-filled balloons into hearts.

And yes! It worked!

So now we have some sturdy plaster heart sculptures and have plans to make even more as Valentine's gifts. (I think they'd do great double-duty as paperweights.)

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Plaster Balloon Sculptures with Kids

Plaster Balloon Sculptures with Kids -- So fun! You have to try this!We made sculptures the other day with balloons, plaster of Paris, and four giggling children. The whole process and experience was awesome and was the perfect antidote to the freezing weather outside.

Let me just say right now that you have to try this. It takes a bit of prep, but is so worth it!

I found the idea and instructions for the plaster balloon sculptures on First Palette, pinned it ages ago, and have been meaning to give it a try since.

So glad we finally did!

By the way, I recommend you read the step-by-step instructions at First Palette if you’re going to do this project. They are excellent and specific.

We did ours slightly differently (mostly to make the plaster mixing & pouring easier), but not by too much.

Plaster Balloon Sculptures with Kids

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