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Read, Play, Make: The City and The Country


I’ve been meaning to play along with the Scissors Paper Rock Bookworms ever since it started, and I’m FINALLY  joining in for October. The theme is ‘Country vs City’ and the idea is that you read books related to the theme, then make/do/sing/play anyway you like in relation to the theme.

We took a low key approach to the Bookclub. I find that the more I plan an experience, the less likely Pebble is to be interested. I let her lead the way and we both end up having more fun. It was so interesting to find out what Pebble’s idea of ‘city’ and ‘country’ is. Before reading we chatted and I asked, “What’s in a city?”.
“Dinosaurs!” she answered. Um. Ok!
“Is there really?!” I asked.
“Yes, we saw their bones when we went to the city” she replied.
Aha, now I knew where her thinking was at. We have been to ‘the city’ a couple of times, and on one most recent trip we visited the museum, and we did indeed see dinosaur bones. I asked Pebble what else we saw in the city.
“Birds!” she replied, “I chased them around and around!” Yes, she had chased some pigeons around the park outside the museum. Hmm what else did she remember?
“Where were the toys?” I prompted.
“In the nappy change room, we played toys in there” she remembered. Yes, we did. One change room had a toy kitchen and she begged me to play with it.
These are the things most important to a toddler!

Pebble hadn’t really heard the word ‘country’ in the context of city vs country before. In the past we have had lots of talk about different ‘countries’ that people live in, and Pebble loves using her blow up globe to find Australia, then England, where we have family. She finds the North Pole, “where Santa lives”, and she tries very hard to find Kenya, where her Aunty was born, but that’s a bit tricky. So the word ‘country’ was a bit confusing for her.

We started by having a poke through our home library, and finding one of our picture books with lots of different objects. Pebble pointed out things that we might find in the city. My teacher brain started to work over time, and the complexities of what ‘city’ and ‘country’ mean started to blow my mind… but I brought it down a notch for my little 2 year and 9 month old.

We read After Dark by Louis Baum, which is about a little girl who is in bed at home while her mum goes out to do the grocery shopping. The book goes back and forth between mum on her journey to and from the shops, and the little girl slowly getting closer and closer to the front door, until they meet on the front step for a hug. The mother walks past the pub, the cinema, rows of houses and into the busy supermarket.

We read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and talked about all the things that the family had to get through to find the bear (and again to get home!). This is a favourite of Pebble’s (and most children’s, of course) and we had a very enthusiastic reading. Twice in fact! I said that the people in the book lived in the country, far away from the city where all the big buildings and busy road are. They live in the country, where there is lots of grass and mud and trees. Again, my brain was going over time, thinking that we do have those things in the city too… but anyway…

We also read another of Pebble’s favourite books, Let’s go to the Farm, a Fisher-Price lift the flap book. We looked at all the animals, fruits and vegetables, and I said that most farms were a long way away from the city, they were in the country.

I asked Pebble if she would like to play city and country. She agreed very happily. I asked how we should play and she said “we need to get the special tape and make the roads”. So we got out some tape (I couldn’t find the masking tape, so we used duct tape), made the roads and then did some planning. Pebble chose where to put her city, and used her building blocks to build it. She directed me to use another set of blocks to build more city on the other side of the road.

“What about the country”, I asked. Where will that be? Pebble pointed to the other end of our duct tape highway. “What goes in the country?” I asked. “We need a farm!” she said. We used the farm duplo set and put the farm in the country. Then we were ready to play.

We played quite happily for the rest of the day, going back and forth between our city and country play and other things. It was lots of fun! Pebble definitely still has a lot to understand about the city and the country yet, and I am planning our next family excursion to farm gates for some spring harvesting. Strawberry picking, anyone?

Pop over to Scissors Paper Rock Bookworms to see how others had fun with this theme.

Do you live in the country? Or the city? Or somewhere in between?


  1. Such wonderful ideas…we have been doing alot of talk about the country but not about the city so i might need to fix that! I am so going to do that duct tape road with the girls…love it!
    Also will have to find that Fisher price book as the girls love their little people at the moment…thanks for all the inspiration x
    [email protected] recently posted..Weekly Kid’s Co-Op – Fine Motor Fun!My Profile

    • Masking tape works well too, it’s lots of fun, you can make so many different roads and cities with it. Pebble loves her Fischer Price Little People, I will have to ask Santa for some more for Christmas, I think :)

  2. How brilliant! Isn’t it wonderful what books and stories can inspire in children?

    Thanks also for introducing me to a new kid-lit blog I hadn’t heard of.
    [email protected] Little Bookcase recently posted..The Children’s Bookshelf: Extending a book through small world and sensory playMy Profile

  3. You are SO inspiring Kylie, the way you put so much time into playing with, teaching and interacting with Pebble. I would really love to be more like you. I can’t believe she is only two years old either!
    Ronnie xo
    Pink Ronnie recently posted..Made me smileMy Profile

  4. What a lovely learning experience for Pebble and those roads look so fun. Looks like she’s having the greatest time.
    Ness @ One Perfect Day recently posted..Positive Parenting and Embracing the Moment at The Sunday Parenting PartyMy Profile

  5. Oh I love your conversation about city and country – and it is very similar to one I had with Dino Boy the other day (when I realised we had only spoken about other countries, not the country too!) What a great play set up, we will have to try the tape roads – they will be a hit here I am sure! How great to follow her lead on setting it up, sounds like lots of fun!!
    Kelly recently posted..Peanut butter and jam biscuitsMy Profile

  6. Country and City, what a great idea and a fabulous way to introduce or learn more about opposites. I imagine the language development in this activity would have been very worthwhile. I must do more duct tape roads! :)
    Debs recently posted..Building & Playing with Books & CarsMy Profile

  7. love that the potty is sitting prominently amongst the play area!

    i think my girls would like the masking tape roads too and they are 6!


    • LOL that made me laugh too when I first looked at the photos. I hadn’t even realised at the time, we were in the moment of play. It will be funny to look back on photos from this time and see the potty there.

  8. I love your talk. This is a great way to encourage conversation and learning.
    I will definitely be doing the tape road with dimples, complete with dashed lines :-) he will love it.
    Renee @ adventures at home with mum recently posted..Outdoor Play – The Spider Cave MazeMy Profile

  9. This looks like so much fun!! I love how books can be extended and inspire so much more learning even after the book has been read.
    Janice recently posted..Skeletons – PreSchool ScienceMy Profile

  10. We live in the City! The biggest city in the country! My kids would love that road your daughter is making. Thanks for linking up to The Children’s Bookshelf. If you’re interested in more city books, you can check out http://www.storiedcitiesbooks.com where I blog about kids books which are set in the city.
    What Do We Do All Day? recently posted..Friday Links and Lovely ThingsMy Profile

    • That tape road can keep them entertained for ages, Pebble is always asking to make them :) Thanks for the link to your blog.

  11. Fun! I love the duct tape road going across your home. I hadn’t heard about the Bookworms club, but it sounds like a fun idea. Thanks for linking up to The Children’s Bookshelf.
    Bethany @ No Twiddle Twaddle recently posted..Free Kids’ EBook ListMy Profile

  12. LOVE your city/country that you made. You rock Kylie :)

    We both took fairly similar approaches to the theme :)

    Bear Hunt is a favourite here :) I will have to check out AFTER DARK, I don’t think I’ve ever read that one.

    Thanks so much for linking up. Sorry my post was so late! Nov and Dec will be combined with the theme: CHRISTMAS {of course!}

    Claire Chadwick @ Scissors Paper Rock recently posted..October Bookworm Club – Country vs CityMy Profile

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