Readymade Styrofoam Sculptures

Beguiling, bendy sculptures await in your polystyrene packing! Constructing wily shapes with everyday bits and bobs gives your child’s divergent thinking and environmental awareness a fresh look.


Working with lots of small objects can be messy. So prepare yourself, your child and workspace-- and enjoy cleaning up together!

MATERIALS - click to buy
  1. Styrofoam thick enough to stick pipe cleaners in. We like to recycle the odd shapes found in packing materials. Adults, you can break up large pieces into smaller ones to create even more interesting shapes. Provide a least one piece per child. 
  2. Pipe cleaners, also known as chenille wires, like these found on Amazon, in various lengths and widths. 
  3. Beads in different sizes and colors, like this grab-bag of assorted colors and kinds. Old costume jewelry, from your own collection or found at yard sales and thrift stores are also excellent sources.
  4. Any other household objects with a hole in them, such as paper drinking strawsmetal washers, pasta ...
  5. Optional - Child-safe markers. We prefer the washable, non-toxic markers found here.
  6. Optional - Adults only! If you choose to cut your pipe cleaners, straws or thrift store necklaces, use a pair of strong scissors.
  1. Skilly Spark: Spread out all of your funky materials so that your child can see them.  Talk with your child about the shapes. What they might remind them of, how funny-shaped some of them are. What can they possibly be and what can you make with them?
  2. Have some fun poking the pipe cleaners into the Styrofoam, showing your little one how easy it is to do. Then let them start poking away, too.
  3. If your child wants, they don’t have to stop with single pipe cleaners standing like soldiers one-by-one-- they can be joined and twisted together to make fun shapes.
  4. Add more fascinating details by sliding beads, straws, pasta, and other fun items you've gathered onto the pipe cleaners. Check out how the wires sway, lean and maybe bend with each addition.
  5. Kids can make their styrofoam sculptures even more fabulous by adding color to the styrofoam base with markers.
Keep the fun going
  • Let your Readymade Sculpture rest, then come back tomorrow and see what other ideas your child has to transform it.
  • Creative materials are everywhere! Remind your child to keep their eyes peeled for more hole-y found objects as the days go by. For instance, they could be waiting at the hardware store or your local park. 
  • Creativity times 2! Older children, ages 3 years and up, can work together to make a single sculpture.