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 :)

Paper Cup Birds

Kid Made Paper Cup Birds {via Octavia and Vicky}

Sometimes I think I should have called this blog ‘Playing in our Pyjamas’…. because that seems to be exactly what we do a lot of around here. On this particular day Pebble was inspired by our trip to the local botanic garden on the weekend and asked to “make a rainbow lorikeet”. We had seen lots of rainbow lorikeets on our walk and often see them around home too.

We started by looking at some close up photos of rainbow lorikeets on my old mate, Google. Then we raided the making cupboard and this is the plan that Pebble came up with: paper cups, feathers, glue, cardboard, a sharpie. Once we’d tipped out a pile of blocks and cars to distract The Destroyer (otherwise known as baby brother, Rocky), we were all set to get started.

TIP: Take my advice and use a disposable container for your craft glue. It’s way easier for clean up at the end. I like to cut open a milk carton and use the base, but empty yoghurt pots or egg cartons work well too. Whatever you can raid from the recycle bin. We also use cotton buds as mini paint brushes for applying the glue. Once you’re done it all goes in the bin and there’s no worry about cleaning up containers or ruining your paint brushes.

Pebble stuck feathers all over the outside of her bird using the craft glue, then drew on a couple of eyes with a sharpie, cut out a little beak from some cardboard and stuck that down too. Craft complete! One bird ready for play. Of course I couldn’t resist getting in on the action and making one of my own too.

Kid Made Paper Cup Birds {via Octavia and Vicky}

Paper Cup Birds

You will need:

  • Paper cups
  • Craft feathers
  • Craft glue
  • Coloured cardboard or paper
  • A sharpie

Kid Made Paper Cup Birds {via Octavia and Vicky} 2

How to make a paper cup bird

  • Stick the feathers to the outside of the paper cup using the craft glue. For maximum coverage you can overlap the feathers to make sure that the whole cup is covered.
  • Draw eyes on the base of the cup.
  • Cut a small diamond (or folded over triangle) from the cardboard and stick it onto the base of the cup to make a beak.
  • Stick your hand in the cup and make your bird fly!

Has the  local wildlife inspired any art or craft at your place lately?

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

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

Ball and Tube Play

Ball and Tube Play for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

Ball and Tube Play for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

Pebble and Rocky have been having lots of fun playing with balls and tunnels at our house. This ball and tube play, with nursery rhyme sing-a-long, is awesome fun for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. This is how we did it.

Looking for more baby play ideas?
Get your copy of Zero to Two: the book of play.

Zero to Two - The Book of Play

Ball and Tube Play

You will need:

  • one large cardboard tube (we recycled an old post tube)
  • wrapping paper (optional)
  • sticky tape (optional)
  • <scissors
  • string or ribbon
  • a large cardboard box (we used four smaller boxes stuck together)
  • small balls (tennis balls are great – remember not to use anything too small or baby might eat it!)

To make:

  1. Wrap the cardboard tube in the wrapping paper and stick it down using the sticky tape (optional).
  2. Make four holes in the bottom of the cardboard box, ready to thread your ribbon through to secure the tube. We figured out where to make our holes by holding the tube up against the box first.
  3. Thread your string or ribbon through the holes to create a loop for the cardboard tube to sit in. Put the the cardboard tube into position as you do this, so that it becomes secured in place.
  4. Start playing!

Tip: If you don’t have a cardboard box you could try securing your cardboard tube to a fence or gate outside.

Sing a long

While we were playing we were singing this little song.
(to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
Roll, roll, roll the ball
Push it through the tunnel
Roll, roll, roll the ball
Push it through the tunnel

Ball and Tube Play for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers
Ball and Tube Play for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

There was so much learning going on during this little play scenario.

Pebble (aged 3 years, 9 months) was learning:

  • estimating measurements when wrapping the tube and securing it to the box
  • sharing and turn taking when playing with her baby brother
  • making meaning through music when singing about rolling the ball
  • patience for her little brother’s efforts at getting the ball into the tube.

Rocky (aged 7 months) was learning:

  • to pull himself up while reaching up to put the balls in the tube
  • grasping small objects while grabbing the balls
  • investigation through play – what happens when I put the ball in the tube?
  • sharing and turn taking when playing with his big sister
  • perseverance when trying to get the ball into the tube while balancing

Fisher Price Giveaway

Giveaway - Fisher Price Prize Pack

The awesome people over at Fisher-Price are big advocates of baby and children’s play, and as their Play Ambassador they’ve given me the chance to giveaway two of their most popular toys to Australian Octavia and Vicky readers.

  • Prize 1: Laugh & Learn Apptivity Story Book – This sturdy case (that looks just like baby’s favourite book!) will protect your iPhone (3GS, 4 & 4S or iPod touch 4G) from dribbles, drool, teething and sticky little fingers. Baby will love unlocking never-ending content at the turn of a page – just open and close the case cover to advance app content!
  • Prize 2: Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car – put your little one in the driver’s seat of a fun-filled stationary vehicle with all-around learning and play. The interactive lights and sounds dashboard of the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car keeps your baby busy with a light-up baby “GPS”, horn to honk, gears to shift, and more. With over 75 sung songs, tunes and phrases, and three modes of play, there’s plenty of fuel for learning adventures and fun!

Christmas is coming up, these toys could be a great way to help Santa fill those stockings and sacks this year.

To enter simply leave a comment answering this question:

What is your child’s favourite nursery rhyme?

This giveaway is now closed.

Zero to Two - The Book of Play