Dressing up…we all must have early memories of spending our days dressing up to become whatever our flight of fancy was that day. And the best dressing up was for me my mums shoes. I still love shoes oh too much now!
Meemoo has just begun to discovered the delights of dressing up. She is currently fascinated by the process of putting on shoes, socks, glasses and hats. I have given her a collection of dressing up bits for her to explore this play. Hopefully lessen the number of shoes she gets out of shoe boxes and leaves strewn about the downstairs. I only spent £2 on the sunglasses from Primark and rest is just gathered up odds and ends from around the house. I then placed all the items in our exploring box. I only put a a few things in as I did not want to overwhelm the play with too much choice.
This open ended dressing is fantastic for leaving the options open to the children to become a superhero, a mum or a princess. Not to say that we don’t have some predetermined outfits in our house. There is room for both side by side to foster children’s imagination and discovery.
Needless to say Pook thoroughly enjoys the dressing up box too. They have been on many adventures together.
So there you have it simple dressing up fun from the odd things we have lurking in the dark corners of cupboards in our houses.
Lots of fun has been had with our Mud Kitchen the past few weeks. Mud is lovely stuff especially when you are younger. It holds a world of make believe possibilities making mud pies, mud cakes, mud soup, mud stew…you get the idea.
It was relatively easy to set up after inspiration from all the examples of mud kitchens all over the internet. Basically it is an outdoor play kitchen which uses mud and natural ingredients to cook with rather than plastic food for children to explore, offering multiple learning opportunities. I simply re-purposed some old shelves that where not being put to much use for garden storage. I lowered them to become a work surface for the girls. Next I raided old pots and pans from my kitchen cupboards along with a shelving unit unused. You the kinda thing you get sold while wandering around Ikea dreaming up its infinite uses because you like but it never works out! I then hammered some nails into the shed to hang the utensils off. The mud is in an old storage box used to grow vegetable in last summer. Its work in progress as I would like to add a chalkboard and a sign.
While I was busy with all this I set Pook the task of looking for some sticks stones and other exciting ingredients she might want to have in her kitchen.
Now it was time to let the fun begin. Pook and Meemoo have had a wonderful time cooking and mixing.
It is a wonderful open ended play space that lets the girls imaginations run wild. It is also simple to add a suggestion for the next step in their play. I recently added an empty chocolate box, which prompted Pook to make Mud Chocolates, a new one on me. She got very involved in finding the right consistency for them to be sticky and then place them in the sunny spots to dry out informing me that it was food for the flies. I could tell you about all the science she was learning and working out or just tell you to have a go you never know where it make take you and your little ones.
Ice cream shop role play was simply made using existing toys and a cardboard box.
Oh the things you can make from a cardboard box. It was entirely Pook’s play idea that I just enabled and supported her with.
This activity all started when Pook found the toy ice creams in the back of a cupboard, that I had hidden away for a few months. I am always doing this hiding toys and away and getting out old favourites especially as the majority of our toys are out on shelves. Its like finding a long lost friend. Also it reinvigorates play when the other toys have become dull and boring.
How I made our Ice Cream Role Play
I created the frame for the Ice Cream shop using a cardboard box which I stuck to the table using gaffa tape. I find that it is not so disheartening when things are created quickly out of a cardboard box that later on get damaged in play. While I was doing this Pook was occupied with arranging all of the ice creams in the shop window. Next we discussed a menu which I wrote up on a spare piece of card.
Now the fun could begin in our Ice Cream Shop Role Play. Pook revelled in playing ‘Ice Creams’ so much that we played all afternoon and the day after. I let the play follow her lead, being there to take tuns to buying and selling the ice cream but also being aware of when she did not need me and taking a back seat. She extended this play to include her dollies, her toy kitchen to make new ice cream for her ‘buyers.’
So going with their ideas leads you to do the unexpected because making an Ice Cream shop was not on my radar of things to do or house jobs that needed doing but it was well worth the fantastic detour!