Friday, March 29, 2013

Tape Town: a quick, easy, cheap way to create roads for toy cars

My sons loves driving their cars round and round the room. One day I decided to use tape to give them some roads to drive on. B spends so much time making up stories that I wanted to give him a stage for his police vehicles, trucks and buses. It was a huge success and we all had lots of fun with it.

We started with just one road marked on the floor with masking tape. Then we created a ‘T’ junction and then just kept on building across the room. B enjoyed going around with his bus. He stopped in the same place every time for the bus stop - people got on, people got off. Eventually he asked for the tape to mark the stopping place.

We chose a place for a farm so that little R had a place to play too. He likes to drive cars but has no regard for the rules and regulations of the road. He often crawls across the whole set up. B has to wait for ‘the pedestrian crossing the road’ (not always an easy task). Sometimes we build a little train track at one end of our town.
Traffic lights, police stations, fire station, a house with a garden - the additions go on and on. We create different stories every time. The main characters are usually the bus or the police car. B seems to choose depending on his mood. When he has a lot of energy to use up, the police car zooms around with the siren on full blast. There can be a lot of destruction and the noise reaches real siren levels.

At other times the bus drives very carefully around the town. B brings the bus slowly to the stops making sure the tyres are right at the edge of the road. He talks about people getting on and off with prams and dogs. Somebody might be running for the bus so he waits for them - or not!

Monday, March 18, 2013

How can we be creative? Let me count the ways.

Well, it’s been a while since I posted. The winter has been a long one, and it’s not finished yet. We had yet another snowfall last weekend and the low temperatures create sheets of ice for the morning trip to nursery school. We’ve been spending a lot of time at home, playing with things with wheels and reading lots of books. We have built lots of train tracks and developed a few towns. What we haven’t done it a lot of craft activities. However, I started to realise, once again, that my ideas of creativity are not always the same as my childrens’ and that there are many many ways to use your imagination.
Two Boys with a Bus
Nursery school has been the biggest change for us recently. B’s first day was at the beginning of September last year and our schedule had to be worked around that. He was so tired every afternoon that he wasn’t really in the best mood for anything crafty. In addition, his main interest has been pretend play. He loves cars and trains and buses. He spends hours a week driving them around his room making up stories.

Little R is walking now and ready for anything! I have done some painting with him and we sometimes experiment with different materials, trying to build things with them. But I really haven’t done as much creative work with him as I did with B. Partly because he is one of two so there is always another little boy to look out for, who doesn’t like doing messy creative things, and partly because he is much more unpredictable than B. He sees his big 3 year old brother pushing the boundries and he copies everything. Not a great situation for experimenting with paint!

While I love to paint, cut and glue, B has been showing me how driving cars and building train tracks is also good for, if not better for, his creativity and imagination skills. Watching him work and helping him solve problems has been an education for me as he develops his language, refines his co-ordination and practices telling stories.

Introducing R to paint and glue is going to be on my list over the next few months. When he plays with his big brother he gets lots of practice pushing things around and making loud siren noises. I think we’ll add some colour to the playroom walls to reflect their big bright personalities.

So we have lots to do, and lots of opportunities to take photos and fill my blog posts with great pictures!

B with one of his favourite things - the Berlin U-Bahn