Today’s project uses an item many of us have around the house: a foam veggie tray from the supermarket. Cut it up into pieces and you’ll have a “free” source of foam shapes for the bath, which would cost you R50 or so at the toy shop.
It’s easy, but here are a few tips to make your project go smoothly.
Step 1: Choose your tray.
It’s best to choose a tray that is clean, without cracks or holes. If it’s sticky from its vegetables, you can wash it lightly with dishwashing liquid and then let it dry in the sun.
Step 2: Cut it into flat shapes.
Your tray has walls that go upward to hold those nice vegetables in place. Cut it down into flat pieces. Use a decently sharp scissors, not a knife (which would leave raggedy edges, as you can see in the photo below).
3. Cut those shapes into designs.
What works here is simplicity. I tried alphabet letters, but they fell apart because of the curves and the holes.
Go for geometric solids like rectangles, squares, and triangles.
An American educator from the early 20th century named Caroline Pratt said that children most enjoy working with shapes that fit neatly together. She called them “unit blocks,” and it’s what many wooden building block sets are based on today.
To obtain “units,” make one rectangle as your base. In half, that’s 2 perfect squares. Each square in half is 2 perfect triangles. Those will then all match up and give the child a feeling of satisfaction and “rightness.”
4. Play with them in the bath or on a tiled wall in the kitchen
When wet, these shapes stick to smooth surfaces such as a bathtub wall or tiles. You can re-arrange them to build cities, for example.
If you’re feeling educational, you can sort them by shape or count them up into columns and rows (certainly good preparation for learning Excel later on!)
Yes, veggie trays usually come in black only, but that offers great contrast.
These bath shapes won’t last forever, but they will give your veggie tray another chance at serving your family.
Do you have any recycling materials lying around, waiting to turn into wonderful craft projects? List them in the comments below and we’ll use them in upcoming DIY KIDS articles!