Who knew math could be so fun? Your preschooler will delight in this counting activity that results in a beautiful holiday decoration for the whole family to enjoy. Your child can count out loud as he adds each gumdrop to the topiary, and see how high he can go. This activity will also help your child practice color recognition and learn about different materials and textures.
Topiary is the art of trimming and shaping trees into sculptural, ornamental shapes. Disneyland boasts some of the most famous American Portable style topiaries. In the early 1960's Walt Disney used the theme park's landscape shrubbery to recreate his beloved cartoon characters.
What You Need:
- Large Styrofoam ball (this will be the "canopy" of your topiary)
- Wooden dowel, up to 1” thick and approximately 15” long
- Green spray paint
- Flower pot or vase
- Moss, faux grass, or shredded paper
- Floral foam (available at your local arts and crafts store)
- Toothpicks, broken in half
- Gumdrops in many different colors
- Ribbon (optional)
What You Do:
- Spray the dowel green with the spray paint and let it dry completely overnight.
- Cut a block of floral foam to fit inside the flower pot or vase and place it inside.
- Help your child insert the dowel into the center of the Styrofoam ball about 3” deep.
- Help your child insert the other end of the dowel into the floral foam all the way down so that it touches the bottom of the vase. Make sure the dowel is stable.
- Have your child sort the gumdrops by color.
- Have your child stick a gumdrop onto one end of the toothpick and push the other end of the toothpick into the Styrofoam ball. Working in rows, continue placing gumdrops all the way around the ball.
- As your child works, ask him to count each gumdrop out loud. Occasionally ask how many of each color he has used or has left.
- Once the Styrofoam ball is completely covered, assist your child in placing moss, faux grass, or shredded paper into the vase to cover the floral foam.
- Tie a bow around the dowel with the ribbon (optional).
- Now stand back and enjoy your new Candyland-inspired table topper!