Toddler Explorations: Hammering

Lately, Silas's dramatic play has included a lot of hammering. Anything and everything in our house has been used as a hammer or a nail at one point or another. He's "fixing things." So, I thought he might enjoy some practice with a real hammer and some real nails.


I've had my eye on this Geo Shape Board for awhile, but honestly it just doesn't fit in our budget right now. So, I made my own. I picked up a brand new block of floral foam at the thrift store for 38 cents. I wasn't sure what I was going to use it for at the time, but knew it might come in handy. Turns out it's perfect for a little hammer practice. It's an easy surface in which to get a nail started and it provides just enough resistance to be a challenge without being too frustrating.


I covered it with a bit of burlap (just wrapping it like a present and using a bit of hot glue to secure). Not only did I think this was aesthetically more pleasing, but it also served the practical purpose of keeping the floral foam contained so that he couldn't dig out chunks of it. As fun as I'm sure that would have been, I wanted to get more than a one-time use out of it.


I presented him the hammering block along with a small hammer and a dish of nails (all which I already had lying around the house). I had a couple nails started, to give him a guide of what to do with it, and demonstrated how to hold the block on the corner with one hand and to hammer with the other.


He gave it a go. Then he discovered he could push the nails in with his fingers, which he found far more interesting. He pushed them in, pulled them all out and then pushed them back in several times. After doing so he did pick up the hammer again and asked me to get some nails started so that he could hammer them.


All together, this activity lasted between fifteen and twenty minutes. He was incredibly focused on it the entire time. It's now on the shelf, ready to take out on another day.

6 comments:

  1. What a great idea wrapping up the floral foam with burlap :) How is Silas with sharp things? Bea still sticks some stuff not-ideal stuff (!) in her mouth from time to time, so I am still a bit wary. She keeps asking me to draw faces these days and she draws on/traces and names the facial parts (eyes, nose, mouth) of my drawings, over and over! I might take your advice from previous post (the one about the wheels). It's fascinating and fun to watch them learn, eh?

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    1. Thanks, Renee! He's pretty good with sharp things and he's actually never really put much in his mouth, thankfully, so we've been able to explore lots of sensory stuff without too much worry.

      Bea's interest in faces is fascinating! Silas is interested in them right now, too, and that's actually the current Reggio project that we're exploring. :) When I fine tune our book list, I can send it to you, if you're interested. You should try printing out a life-size close-up photo of Bea's own face and let her draw on it and see what she does!

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    2. Oooh - yes, please on the book list. Thanks so much :)

      Thank you also for the tip about printing out a pic of Bea's face for her to draw on. I will do that - will keep you posted :)

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  2. Neat idea. What is it about males and their need to "fix" things, regardless of their age?

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  3. This is an excellent idea. My daughter loves her hammer but I've never found the right material for her to put nails into, other than the dirt outside. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome! I've also heard that pumpkins make a great matrix for hammering. Something to try this fall!

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