Friday, June 26, 2009

Creating Sculptures with Packing Peanuts

A Creative Sculpture You Can Do at Home

A recent Studio drop-in activity, Zoo Art, invited participants to create an animal sculpture with biodegradable foam packing peanuts. Families with children of all ages had so much fun creating our Museum Zoo that we thought we would share the process so you can try it at home too!

You will know your packing peanuts are biodegradable if they dissolve when they get wet. The Styrofoam packing peanuts will not work for this activity. Save your packing peanuts from packages received in the mail. Our packing peanuts were ordered from a large mailing supply company to accommodate the number of visitors for this week long activity. When individual pieces are moistened on a damp sponge, the cornstarch is released, which causes the packing peanuts to stick together.

Children were asked to create an animal to join our zoo, a large sheet of paper designed with green, blue, yellow and white spaces for the animals. Some children wanted to create sculptures which resembled walls, rocks and food for the zoo. Such creative minds at work!

Many zoo type posters were displayed to inspire some ideas, including the poster Coming to Water by Bo Newell. You can support your child's creative endeavor by asking questions. "What parts of the animal are you making - tails, legs, fins?" Suggest what else your zoo may need - tire swings, pools, trees, etc. Not only does this activity support your child's creative endeavors, but working with solids in three dimensions is also the basis for understanding geometry. Children typically think only in two dimensions, so this activity helps them think spatially. "Even on a simple level, sculpting a zoo animal invites critical thinking about the animal's anatomy, environment and habits," states Marcia MacRae, our interdisciplinary arts specialist, who plans the free drop-in and pre-registered creativity programs in the Studio.

Check out our calendar for other planned Studio activities! View our summer newsletter for descriptions of these free activities with Museum membership or admission.

You too can be creative, learn and have fun with biodegradable peanuts.
One of our creative Play Facilitators made this sculpture. Can you name the famous statue he replicated?

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