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Toddler Activity of the Week: Eco-Friendly Packing Peanut Sculptures

This week’s activity was made possible by the impending arrival of our newest little one, and the gathering of newborn essentials I’ve been doing through a fair amount of online ordering. If you’re lucky enough to receive a package in the mail that includes cornstarch packing peanuts, you have a virtually free craft project for your little one.

Cornstarch packing peanuts are eco-friendly, because they are biodegradable and dissolve in water, leaving no waste behind. What this also means, is that with just a little bit of water, you have perfect building materials that are super easy for young children to use. If you haven’t been lucky enough to receive some in a package recently, you can always buy your own supply of cornstarch packing peanuts, if you like.

Gather your packing peanuts and your kiddos and let the building begin!

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  • Cornstarch Packing Peanuts 1 of 7
    Cornstarch Packing Peanuts
    These are the cornstarch packing peanuts you'll need for this activity. You'll know you have the right ones if you get them wet and they get sticky and disintegrate.
  • Set Up the Craft 2 of 7
    Set Up the Craft
    I gave each of my kids a wet washcloth, (but not too wet) or you could also use a damp sponge, and an upside down bowl to use as a base for their building. You can try using different shaped containers for different shaped bases for your child's sculpture.
  • Start Building 3 of 7
    Start Building
    All they have to do is lightly touch the packing peanut to the wet washcloth or sponge and then start sticking them together. You may have to help your toddler get started with building their base, but they'll get the hang of it quickly. The biggest thing to remember is that the peanuts just need to be barely damp to stick together. If they get them too wet, they will be too sticky and will disintegrate.
  • Let Them Build Their Own Way 4 of 7
    Let Them Build Their Own Way
    My daughter wanted to start her building on the top instead of the sides. Let your little one build and create in their own way and encourage their creativity.
  • Build Around the Whole Base 5 of 7
    Build Around the Whole Base
    Help your child to build around the whole base, filling in holes as needed. And then they can build up or to the sides however they want.
  • Build it Up and Out 6 of 7
    Build it Up and Out
    Once the base is finished, they can build up their tower as tall as they want. My daughter wanted to build a castle, and my son wanted to build an igloo.
  • Admire Their Finished Creations 7 of 7
    Admire Their Finished Creations
    Once they are finished building, you'll need to let the structure dry, and then you can pop the bowl out from underneath. Your little one's creation will stand up on it's own, and they will be so proud!

What activity or craft are you doing with your toddler this week?

Emily writes about green and natural living at Live Renewed.
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