Pretend Play: Farm Play Dough

Pretend Play: Farm Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

As you may have noticed I’ve been trying to find ways for Pebble (4 years, 9 months) and Rocky (20 months) to play together. This pretend play experience with farm play dough is perfect for both toddlers and preschoolers. They had a ball together! It’s so sweet seeing them play… mostly. Of course they are siblings and have their fair share of fights too.

This pretend play farm play dough so easy to set up. Just grab some farm toys, you’ve probably got some wooden or plastic toys at home, or they’re very cheap to buy. You may get lucky and find some second hand at your local op shop or online. Make up a batch of green play dough and set up an invitation to play. If your child needs extra help to get started with pretend play you can try role modelling by moving the animals around and making animal noises. They will soon join in the fun.

Looking for a fool proof play dough recipe? This no cook method is my favourite.

Pretend Play: Farm Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky} Pretend Play: Farm Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky} Pretend Play: Farm Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky} Pretend Play: Farm Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

Pebble and Rocky also enjoyed the process of making play dough together. Just a warning – it gets messy! Especially with toddlers. ESPECIALLY if one of those toddlers is Rocky!  Expect mess and let it happen. It’s not so hard to clean up afterwards and the experience of making the dough adds so much to the play. It’s also great for learning about measurement, procedure and concepts like hot/cold, wet/dry and empty/full.

Pretend Play: Farm Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

Ideas for extending the play:

  • sing farm songs and nursery rhymes, like “Old MacDonald” and “This Little Piggy”. Nursery rhymes are SO important to children’s early literacy development and are often forgotten about these days. Plus kids love them!
  • read books about farms – some of our favourites are Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell, My Farm by Alison Lester, and A Year on Our Farm by Penny Matthews and Andrew McLean.
  • make your own animals from play dough.
  • print out and use these farm play dough mats which encourage early numeracy skills.
  • encourage children to pretend to be farm animals – say “can you be a…. pig/duck/horse/cow/etc”
  • draw or paint pictures of farm animals
  • visit a local farm and get hands on with the animals

More ideas for toddlers and preschoolers to enjoy together: 

Pretend Play: Construction Site

Pretend Play Construction Site {via Octavia and Vicky}

Sponsored by Kidspot for Hasbro

Pretend Play Construction Site {via Octavia and Vicky}
I am just in love with seeing my two kids play together. I feel like they’ve grown up so much, especially since spending four days away from them to attend the Problogger conference recently. The day that I got home I noticed how they were chatting to each other (or Pebble, aged 4.5, was chatting and Rocky, aged 18 months, was listening and occassionally babbling back). They shared toys and experiences together, drawing with chalk or building a cubby and clamboring in and out of it. For Pebble these experiences are definitely all about pretend play, she’s constantly narrating a play scene. For Rocky I think this play is about joining in with his sister and figuring out how things work.

Of course these play scenes aren’t always a carefree, whimsical love fest – they are siblings after all! They have their fair share of fights about who sat where first, who gets to play with which toy and who punched who in the nose. Unfortunately for Rocky he’s not able to tell us his side of the story yet, so he doesn’t really get a fair trial! With practice they will get better at sharing each others space. Right?

I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce a pretend play scene for them to share. I collected a few bits and pieces from around the house and put them together with an awesome new toy sent to me by Hasbro, and this is what I came up with.

Pretend Play Construction Site

You will need a collection of items that can be used to represent a construction site, eg:

  • rocks
  • roads (either a play mat or create your own roads using masking tape)
  • toy cars and trucks (we used the Hasbro Diggin’ Rigs Buzz Saw)
  • cardboard boxes to represent buildings
  • tin cans to represent barrels
  • dolly pegs dressed in fluro paper ‘jackets’ to represent construction workers
  • Play-Doh for making boulders, walls, work helmets…. whatever you need!
  • popsticks to represent levers, scaffolding, ramps, etc

To create the scene (there really are no rules to making a play scene, but this is how we did it):

  • Pebble and I used masking tape to create roads on the floor.
  • We placed the rocks inside a cardboard box with two sides removed, giving that play space a boundary and also making it easy to pack up.
  • Pebble and Rocky helped me to get the other bits and pieces on the scene and it was soon clear that I needed to get out of their way so that they could PLAY!

Pretend Play Construction Site {via Octavia and Vicky} 5 Pretend Play Construction Site {via Octavia and Vicky} Pretend Play Construction Site {via Octavia and Vicky}

Rocky was most fascinated with the Diggin Rigs Buzz Saw and spent a good deal of time just pushing it around on the roads. Which was perfect for Pebble, it gave her the space to begin her intricate narrative and set up the characters of the play. Soon they were working together, building Play-Doh walls, trucking rocks from once place to another, and ‘sawing’ objects in half.

Pretend Play Construction Site {via Octavia and Vicky} Pretend Play Construction Site {via Octavia and Vicky} Pretend Play Construction Site {via Octavia and Vicky} Pretend Play Construction Site {via Octavia and Vicky}

Extend the play:

  • Children bring their own real world experiences to their play. Drive by or visit a real construction site and talk about what you can see.
  • If there are no construction sites near you then try searching YouTube for videos of construction sites or tools in action. I found some cool videos when I searched for “buzz saw truck”. Who knew?!
  • Add paper and pencils for children to make their own signs to add to the construction site.

Giveaway

Pretend Play Construction Site {via Octavia and Vicky}

Thanks to the awesome people at Hasbro I have three Diggin Rigs Buzz Saw toys to giveaway to three lucky Octavia and Vicky readers. The Diggin Rigs Buzz Saw playset includes a detachable arm, two plastic blades, an excruder rail and four cans of Play-Doh.

Open to Australian residents only. Entries close midnight AEST 22/9/14.

Hasbro Play-Doh Diggin’ Rigs Buzzsaw Playset

25+ Awesome Activities for Preschoolers

Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool Activities

It’s here, it’s here! I’ve been holding this little baby under my hat for weeks, but I can finally announce that the Three to Five: Playful Preschool ebook is HERE! I was thrilled when Cathy from NurtureStore asked me to be a part of another of her amazing ebooks, you might remember that I collaborated on the Zero to Two ebook earlier in the year. It was a winner and has had so much support from readers, I just know that you’re all going to love this ebook too.

What will I find in the ‘Three to Five: Playful Preschool’ ebook?

  • 25+ awesome activities for preschoolers
  • hands on, play based learning
  • inspiring ideas that are practical and easy to follow
  • beautiful photos and step by step guides
  • 10 printable resources including a city play scape scene, My First Journal pages, a recipe card, numbers game, weather chart printables, alphabet play mats, hand drawn art pages, conversation cards, block building challenge cards and bookmarks)
  • links to over 50 more preschool activities
  • ideas for language, literacy, science, art and play
  • features from some of the best play blogs, including Laughing Kids Learn, Picklebums, Babble Dabble Do, Rainy Day Mum, Lessons Learnt Journal, One Perfect Day and many more.

Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool Activities

Take a sneak peek at what’s inside with this video:

How do I get my copy? Gimme, gimme, gimme!

  • Okay, steady on! Three to Five: Playful Preschool  is an ebook. You can download your copy on any device (computer, tablet, phone) from anywhere in the world RIGHT NOW! You can print it on your printer at home, or read it straight from your phone, computer or tablet. I know, cool right?
  • get your copy for the awesome price of $8.99 (USD). Don’t worry about working out the exchange rate, it’s all done for you when you get your copy. You’re welcome :)
  • Just click on the button below to be whisked away to the checkout…

Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool ActivitiesHave fun playing :)

DIY Sticky Doll House

DIY Sticky Doll House {via Octavia and Vicky}

DIY Sticky Doll House {via Octavia and Vicky}

The other day Pebble came up to me, as she often does, rattling off a verbal list of craft supplies for her latest project. I’m usually a ‘yes’ mama when it comes to craft, especially now that Pebble is four and super independent. Craft time usually means that I can get some housework done plan a lesson or two and maybe write a blog post. I pulled out all the craft materials that Pebble asked for, gave her a little help with cutting up shapes and peeling and sticking contact paper, and she made this super gorgeous doll house! Read on for instructions for your own DIY doll house.

DIY Doll House

You will need:

  • one large box (we used a nappy box)
  • scissors
  • clear or coloured contact paper (sticky backed paper)
  • sticky tape
  • white or coloured paper
  • collage materials (we cut shapes from coloured paper and foam, but you could use any collage materials)
  • optional: washi tape

DIY Cardboard Dolls House with Contact Paper Collage DIY Cardboard Dolls House with Contact Paper Collage

To set up: 

  • cut off the flaps from the top of the box, which will become the roof.
  • cover the sides of your box with white (or coloured) paper, to cover any patterns or labels on the box and help the collage to really stand out.
  • cut holes in the sides of the box for doors (and windows if you like).
  • cover the (open) roof and sides of the box with contact paper, making sure that the sticky side is facing out, ready for collage. Don’t worry about being too neat, as the contact paper will be covered with collage anyway.

DIY Cardboard Dolls House with Contact Paper Collage DIY Cardboard Dolls House with Contact Paper Collage DIY Cardboard Dolls House with Contact Paper Collage

To create the collage:

  • place the collage materials and contact paper-covered house in easy reach of a toddler, preschooler or school age child and watch as they go to town, decorating their house!
  • Pebble had very specific ideas about wanting tiles and bricks on her house, but children could decorate their house in any way that they liked.

Optional extras: 

  • create washi tape carpets and rugs by sticking strips of washi tape on to paper parallel to each other. Trim with scissors to neaten up and stick in your play house with double sided tape. Washi tape can also be used as part of the collage on the outside of the house.
  • Children can make their own accessories and furniture (Pebble  made that star covered letterbox).
  • You could also create picture frames on the walls or stick pictures of family and friends and the walls for some doll house wall art :) Ok, I’ll stop now…. but the options are endless!

Time to play!

  • The fun isn’t over yet. Help children to choose their favourite dolls or figures to play in the house. They will come back to this play scene again and again.

DIY Cardboard Dolls House with Contact Paper Collage

Why use contact paper? 

  • Contact paper allows children the freedom to add and remove collage materials easily, taking away the fear of doing it “wrong” or making a mistake. It also allows them to more freely adapt their designs as they go.

Learning through play

While creating and playing with her house Pebble has been practising:

  • fine motor skills
  • dramatic play
  • identifying shapes
  • sorting objects by size
  • naming colours
  • estimating and comparing length
  • having fun!

Do you and your kids love using contact paper? I love using it for anything EXCEPT covering books. Now that’s a tricky job!

Want more fun ideas for kids? Just download your copy of the Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook. Watch the 30 second video and buy your copy now or find out more.


Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool Activities

Garden Treasures Play Dough

Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

One of Pebble’s favourite things to do is collect treasures from the garden. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not finding her garden treasures in my pockets, her bags, on shelves and random containers around the house (even in the fridge!?!). They are very meaningful to her, and she pretends with them in lots of different ways. Sometimes they’re part of her fairy world, or perhaps ingredients for cooking, other times they are presents for her friends.

One gorgeous summer morning we took a basket out into the garden and had a hunt for garden treasures together. Pebble delighted in finding leaves, twigs, flowers, gum nuts and seed pods, chatting about them all the way. Colour was very important to her and she noticed the slightest variations in colour from leaf to leaf. We gathered flowers with tiny petals and the smallest gum nuts, then giant seed pods and miniature pine cones.

When we were all done with exploring we took our collection inside while we made some play dough. Together we poured, stirred, kneaded and rolled, until we had the perfect consistency of soft, pliable play dough, just begging to be played with. We took the play dough and garden treasures back outside and sat in the shade. Pebble started immediately ‘cooking’ with all her bits and pieces, creating a delicious dinner. Then her play segued into making a pot for holding flowers, one that dries hard (apparently), and placing flowers just so.

We kept the play dough and garden treasures and revisited them throughout the week, each time they took on new meaning through imagination and were added to with more garden treasures. It was lovely to see how the simplest ingredients lead to magical play and watch as it unfolded over time.

Garden Treasures Play Dough (No Cook)

Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

You will need:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • approx. 2 cups boiling water
  • food colouring (if you like, we left ours natural)
  • garden treasures: twigs, leaves, pine cones, rocks, grass, flowers, seed pods, bark. Whatever you can find in your garden!

To make the play dough:

  • combine the dry ingredients
  • combine the water and oil (and food colouring if you’re using it) and stir into to the dry ingredients until a dough forms.
  • knead until smooth and stretchy (careful, the dough will be hot!)
  • store in an air tight container in the fridge.

Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky} Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky} Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

What’s the weirdest place you’ve found one of your kid’s collections in? Anyone else found gravel in their fridge?!

Want more fun ideas for kids? Just download your copy of the Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook. Watch the 30 second video and buy your copy now or find out more.


Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool Activities

Looking for more play inspiration?

Pretend Play Inspiration - 11 fun ideas {Octavia and Vicky}

Invitation to Play Picture Frames and Loose Parts