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.