Seeing the verb principle parts as a "tool box" is a clever way to understand why you will need them for wonderful writing in the future!
I took this one step further & made my own real "tool box of verbs".
After conjugating each verb, we separated them into their correct tense.
Then we made up a silly story together.
I played up the need for the correct tense of verb...got out the right tense "tool box" so my story wouldn't mix up the wrong tenses, giving a couple of funny examples of how that would sound.
(This helps to make the need for correct verb tense a more concrete concept)