This summer I am teaching various two-week art camps for children ages 4-7. These are my pint size artists who love to explore and experiment with various materials. This week I introduced the concept of creating these kids toothpick sculptures, or artwork that can be three dimensional or “pops out.”
As an art teacher, I’m always looking to improve or tweak my projects. Last week, when I walked into our local Dollar Tree, I discovered these amazing colorful foam beads. I could instantly imagine these colorful 3-D forms against the natural wood of toothpicks. I knew these materials together would allow my students to create clean modern and colorful forms that would look cool in any of their family’s living rooms.
foam floral base
Take the floral base and stick toothpicks in randomly. Next, stick foam beads onto the toothpicks. You can stick the toothpicks into the pre-made holes of the foam beads, or poke new holes. The goal is to build a structure or form that is balanced, and will not tip over.
If a little one’s sculpture is tipping over, gently encourage them to think how they can solve the problem. Where can they add more toothpicks and beads to get the structure standing upright? Once the child grasps this concept, they will have a blast building a super tall structure.
Also note, that the toothpicks are very sharp. Smaller children need supervision so they don’t poke themselves.
There are so many variations to this project. Some have used grapes, marshmallows, or candy instead of foam beads. I have also used colorful pipe cleaner as toothpicks and packing peanuts instead of foam beads. The sky is the limit! Have you ever made a variation of this project? Post a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.