My husband gets credit for this post. Using popsicle sticks to create what has turned out to be an epic fun house was his idea. He wanted to teach Kamea a bunch of skills and concepts in a way that’s accessible to a 4-year-old, as well as convey that activities don’t all have to be pre-packaged, that you can do big amazing stuff with simple objects. He’s very big on teaching her to use things for their unintended purposes (to teach lateral thinking), kind of like “coloring outside the lines” on steroids. Also, he wanted her to engage in a multi-month project to augment the single-serving creative sessions we usually do. There’s something about seeing a project grow and expand over time into wild directions, some planned and some unplanned.
And, so, I share this crazy fun idea with you, parents, out there if you’re in need of a creative activity and long-term project for kids. Keep in mind though, it requires some participation from you, the parents, but it’s easy and relaxed fun. Even mindfully meditative, at times.
My husband bought a bunch of popsicle sticks, and he started gluing them together with Kamea (she’s five years, but this project started while she was four).
The house started to really take on quite a life for itself and they started to decorate it with paint, stickers, markers, clay, found objects from the recycle bin, and much more. They also incorporated colored popsicle sticks. It’s become the center of attraction for play-dates as kids stare at it in awe. In fact, so do the parents!
Oh, and get ready for this. They made a rock-climbing wall for the play house’s ninja training center. Here’s the two of them making the rock-climbing handles from polymer clay.
Greg told me to tell you all that it’s smart to not throw away scraps of clay because all of the mixed up scraps give more colors to use later. Store them in a ziploc.
Another tip is using clothespins to hold pieces together while waiting for the glue to dry.
Seriously, this project is pretty amazing, and when they’re not building on to it, Kamea is spending hours playing with it. I’ll be honest, it’s not hours at a time, but hours and hours in total of wonderful independent play. She uses her little figurines to play in it, which are perfect from Disney mini-figure princesses and others like this to Calico Critters dolls and all of her animal figurines. It’s a happy coincidence that the standard popsicle stick length is the perfect scale for a doll house for these figurines.
More pictures of our epic fun house made with simple popsicle sticks, glue, and decorations.
This is in the beginning days.
I didn’t expect it to grow so much.
It has a few additions, including her actual Calico Critter house. Why not? They dubbed it the “calico critter expansion project.”
Here are some special daddy-made-in-workshop additions:
Dad also surprised Kamea one morning when she came downstairs to find working hinged barn doors.
But, wait, there’s more. How about a functional tongue-and-groove sliding garage door. Because… why not?
(Sometimes I wonder if this is a daddy doll house. He gets into flow mode and listens to tech podcasts while building structural things at night, and then Kamea helps glue on easier and decorative elements during the day.)
I know you are all dying to see the Ninja Training Rock Climbing Wall.