How it Plays
To make a Styrofoam pounding board, completely cover a large, 4- to 6-inch-thick piece of Styrofoam with burlap to prevent chipping or shredding. Put the pounding board on a low table or on the floor and give your child a small container of golf tees. Give him a small wood or plastic hammer (they're easy to find in toy stores) and demonstrate how to use it. You can take turns until your child gets the hang of it. Let him hammer as many "nails" as he likes into the pounding board. Make positive comments and suggestions as you describe what he is doing. "You're working very hard! Look at the way you're hammering the nail all the way in!" Note: Although this is a satisfying and safe substitute for working with real tools and wood, you should closely supervise children under 3. Remove the golf tees when your child is finished.
Learning and Growing
As children work with tools, they improve motor skills and eye-hand coordination. They also develop a concrete understanding of cause and effect, spatial relationships, measurement, and problem solving.