Up! from blocks to rockets
Let’s play builders! Pretend play offers the opportunity to have fun and try out being someone else, and also develops lots of important early learning skills. Here are some easy ideas you can use to set up you pretend-play builders yard.
1. Stock up a tool box: You can buy some toy tools but your children will love it if you add in some real builders materials too. Try tape measures, big paint brushes, child-size spanners and screw drivers.
2. Nuts and bolts: Twisting nuts and bolts together is great fine-motor practice and the children will relish the opportunity to try out some real builders kit.
3. Hammer and nails: don’t rule out letting your children play with hammers and nails. Yes, they will need you to keep an eye on them but let them have a go with some small hammers. Banging nails into blocks of polystyrene is good for younger children.
4. Add in the right clothes: One little boy I know insists on wearing his hard hat whenever he is playing with his blocks! Toy shops have child sized versions, and we got our high visibility vests from the supermarket. Old shirts make good painters overalls and if you don’t have any safety goggles, you could try swimming goggles. Providing costumes encourages the children to try on different roles as they dress up.
5. Play outside: make use of the extra space and set up your building site outside. Provide some planks of wood, guttering, pallets or cardboard boxes and let them construct on a bigger scale.
6. Encourage make believe: a colleague commented last week that the boys at our creche don’t engage in as much role playing as the girls. Setting up a building site, rather than a home corner, might capture their imagination and tempt them into exploring this type of play.
7. Add in some writing: Clipboards and a pencil to stick behind your ear are a must. Give their mark making a purpose: let them sketch out what they are planning to build and write a list of the equipment they need to collect. Add in a tape measure so they can work with numbers too.
8. Use your child’s passion for builders to get them reading too. All these books, and more, are available to buy through our Book Shop.
9. Try sand: add trowels and buckets or toy trucks and diggers to your sand pit and let the children experiment with wet and dry sand.
What else do you add to encourage children to explore building and construction? Share your idea in the comments.