I'm sure your kids love to pretend just like mine -- sometimes they dress up for pretend play and other times they employ the use of toys to create their own little worlds.
My daughter really enjoys playing with the small figurines in the Toobs® from Safari Ltd® - her favorites are the Mythical Realms and Ocean. As we were exploring Ancient Greece, we thought it would be fun to build a playscape for the mythical creatures figurines. Hands-on opportunities to create are always a big hit with kids :)
Creating Your Own Mini-World
I thought I would outline the process we use when we create a playscape or mini-world. I try to emphasis some of the items the kids have learned as they read and explored a favorite topic. So the playscape is both a combination of both nonfiction information and creative (fiction) ideas.
As with most creative endeavors, the first step is inspriation! What type of world or playscape do you want to create? My daughter always finds inspriation in the books she reads so we pulled out a few of our favorite books about Ancient Greece and greek mythology.
Decide on a Base
We made a few notes about what she wanted to include in the playscape and then moved to the next step -- finding something to hold our mini-world. I usually look to recycled items for projects like these. Try boxes, large bins or even items such as old tins or suitcases would make a great base for the project.
We decided to go with a good size shoebox in order to create a bi-level diorama (do you remember those from your school days?!). One of the first items she felt would be important to include when re-creating Ancient Greece is Mt. Olympus. And of course, Mt. Olympus sits up in the clouds high over Greece so we made sure it was a sturdy box.
Add Something Unique
Let the kids be creative! Trust me, they have this picture inside of their head of what they playscape will look like once they're done. Listen to their ideas and make suggestions about what types of materials you can use to make each part of the playscape.
Instead of making Mt. Olympus from paper, my daughter wanted to do something more fun so we used salt dough for the mountain. We made a basic salt dough recipe and just baked it for a longer amount of time since it's thicker than a salt dough ornament. After we baked the mountain, it was easy to decorate it so that it looked like it was 'above the clouds'. Once it was all dry, we placed it on top of the shoebox.
For the inside of the box, we found this cool paper model of the Parthenon! We used some of the cut-outs to create the greek temple (older kids might enjoy putting together the whole thing but I warn you, it's pretty detailed). And of course, we needed a lake so that the Mermaid and Posiden had some water ;) The tri-colored sun is made from pipecleaners and was an item that is included in many of the Greek myths we read. Plus, it looks really cool with the Phoenix!
Win Your Own Toob®
Safari Ltd. wants you to create your own mini-world too! One of our readers will win a Toob® of their choice -- you can view the more than 70 different Toobs® of miniature figures. Some of the collections include Dinosaurs, Trains, Arctic, Sea Life, Zoo Babies and many more that the kids will love. I've included an example of the Ocean Toob®which is pictured above. And with the hoidays approaching, they also make great gi fts.
Enter below & Good Luck!