Last week I went to Value Village and they had a pile of Styrofoam heads by the registers. It was like something from Dr. Who. I could not decide if I like them or they freak me out a little bit, but I could no stop myself. I knew the kids would have a blast with them. After all, Styrofoam begs to be messed with. And we were kind-a upcycling it, right?
So I adopted one.
I brought it into the preschool on Monday, placed it on the table with some pipe cleaners, Kwik tempera sticks, beads… and watched the kids come in. First, they did not say anything. Then they checked out the head from distance and then one of the asked me: can we decorate her?
What followed was 30 minutes of hair design studio, make up salon and a toothpick sticking competition. They decorated her with whatever they could find. And even gave her a name: Silly Susie.
It did not take long before the kids started running around preschool chanting: Silly Susie’s very spiky – stopping every so often to stick another toothpick in her head. They kept adding more things to her the following day, gave her a new haircut, curled her colorful hair on pencils, pulled some sticks out and added some new ones.
It was very different than things we usually do and it kept them engaged for a long time. They kept exploring what else they can do – working together, taking turns and brainstorming together. It started as a $2 piece of Styrofoam and ended up a collaborative modern art masterpiece.