How to Paint with Blocks & “When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox”

A Meaningful Book (Series) & Painting with Blocks & More!

After reading Jamie L. B. Deenihan’s newest, “When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox” we decided Painting with Blocks, & Building with Blocks & Shaving Cream would be a blast! I love when a book inspires so much bookish play! I’m excited to walk you through it all, so let’s get started…

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Summary of “When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox”

“When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox” by Jamie L. B. Deenihan & illustrated by Lorraine Rocha, is a meaningful book about a little boy hoping to get a dollhouse for his birthday. When his Grandpa gives him a toolbox instead, the book comically shows what to do (and NOT to do) when you’re disappointed by a gift. To summarize… “Do Not: launch it into outer space, feed it to a T.rex, or tie it to a wrecking ball.” lol. 

Next, the story shows how a toolbox really can come in quite handy; with precious illustrations. There are many cool details throughout the book, including the inside of the front & back covers, which turned this into a fun spot the difference activity for my daughter and I.

I love the message this book expresses, watching the progression of the main character working to help his neighbors and all the children coming together to work on a major project! 🙂  We would absolutely recommend this book to everyone! If you like this one, you’ll probably like the original book, “When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree” from the series too! In fact we had a lot of Bookish Fun with that one as well, you can see it HERE.

How We Painted with Blocks…

close up of painting with blocks

We tend to keep the activities as simple as possible around here. We’re not interested in complicated or costly. We are also all about fostering independence. For this activity we gathered our favorite building blocks… foam blocks! We’ve had these since my youngest was a baby and I LOVE them! They are colorful, quiet & so versatile!

overhead view of paint, blocks, and block painting

We selected one of each shape we wished to make in our art. Then we put pink, yellow, and blue paint each on a paper plate. We tried both dipping and brushing the paint on the blocks and found using the paintbrush was a lot less messy and made for clearer prints. We mixed colors right on the block by painting one color on, then the other before stamping it onto the paper.

As our paintings took a little time to dry we thought about how we could use them as a Father’s Day project since we were giving this book to my husband, celebrating him becoming a grandfather this year!

close up of painting with blocks artwork with "Thank You for building memories with me!" message

We added, “Thank You for building memories with me” because we love puns. Then decided which shapes in our paintings we wanted to display the pictures on, and traced that block onto cardstock paper. Next, we cut our traced shape smaller so it wouldn’t cover the entire shape on our painting. Once we had the right size she drew special memories on each and glued it onto the painting.

*You could also use actual photos, by measuring the block and cropping the photos to be a little smaller than that.

Building with Blocks & Shaving Cream?

Building blocks and shaving cream castle on a tray in the grass with extra blocks next to it.

For this activity, my daughter gathered the shaving cream & blocks on a tray and headed out into the yard. She squirt the shaving cream onto the tray and used a combination of tools to apply the shaving cream onto the blocks, including dipping them into it, using a paintbrush, her hands, etc… The shaving cream creates a squishy texture that “cements” the blocks together and helps hold them in place longer.

After a long while of building various sculptures, she decided she was done and it turned into yet another activity… water & blocks! Foam blocks are so versatile for this reason, they can get messy, and cleaned without damaging them, and my favorite part is how quiet they are when they fall, lol.

Materials We Used

  1. “When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox” book (from the library or buy it here)
  2. Foam building blocks
  3. Tempera paint
  4. Paper plates
  5. Cardstock paper
  6. Shaving cream
  7. A Tray
  8. Colored Pencils (optional)
  9. Permanent Marker (optional)
  10. Scissors (optional)
    Click HERE for Free Printable copy (Email Subscribers Only)

How to Paint with Blocks?

  1. Add paint to the paper plates.
  2. Select the blocks you want to use, we used one of each different shape.
  3. Place your cardstock paper on the tray.
  4. Dip the block into the paint or use the paintbrush to paint the paint onto the block.
  5. Press the block onto the paper, then lift.
  6. Continue making prints of all different colors and shapes.
  7. Decide which blocks you’d like to add text, drawings, or photos too.
  8. Trace those blocks with a pencil onto a blank piece of cardstock paper.
  9. Cut the traced block shape out.
  10. Cut it smaller on all sides.
  11. Write, draw, or use the cut block shapes as a template to trim your photos.
  12. Glue text, drawings, or photos onto the painting to create a personalized gift for Father’s Day or a Birthday!
    Click HERE for Free Printable copy (Email Subscribers Only)

Wait, There’s More…

Sample of “Communicating & Connecting FREE Bonus Printable.

I believe you can easily strengthen communication skills and foster independence all while playing and connecting with your child. To help you do this; I’ve created a FREE printable for each activity called, “Communicating & Connecting”.

It will give you a list of suggestions I’ve found very helpful as a Mom & as a special education teacher; to help you build lifelong skills. Please don’t feel obligated to do everything on the list (but if you do, you’re a rockstar 😉 ).

As a Thank You for subscribing; this is a special FREEBIE for our Email Subscribers Only. 🙂 Click here if you’ve already subscribed. Otherwise, Sign Up below to get the password & access to our entire FREE Printables Library today! 😉

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