Building & Playing with Books & Cars

Oct 29, 2012




Today I set out an Invitation to Play for my daughter. Using just 2 different materials that most people have at home, Books and Cars, she engaged herself in building and balancing, experimenting and exploring and a whole fantastic imaginative world full of language development.


Ages: 2-6+
(For ideas to simplify or extend this activity, see the Handy Tips at the bottom)
invitation to play, building activity, kids activity
Materials: Books (hard cover are easier) and Cars



invitation to play, building, kids activity
To create this Invitation to Play, I put out a pile of children's books, set a couple of them into small tunnels and provided a couple of wooden cars. Entering the room to find them, she was already excited.



Invitation to Play, building, kids activity
She quickly swept away what I'd set out and got to work building and balancing



invitation to play, building, kids activity
Creating Ramps at varying heights and angles produced different results



invitation to play, kids activity, building
The books became tunnels, ramps, roads, mountains, garages, houses and more. Yep, just books.



invitation to play, building, kids activity
The dialogue this activity produced was incredibly beneficial and my favourite outcome



Invitation to play, kids activity, building
The amount of time she spent on this activity even surprised me. I'll set it out again with extra/different materials next time.



For more fun Building Activities with stuff from around the house click on the Picture

activity for kids, building game 




Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by providing smaller, sturdier books. Board books would be perfect for this. Assist your child in creating simple structures like a garage for the cars or one long tunnel. Set up a few basic book ramps for your child to race their cars down.

Extend this activity by challenging your child with all different sized, shaped books. Try soft cover books and see if they make a different. Have your child experiment with varying heights and angles for ramps and include a measuring tape for added maths skills. Challenge your child to use every single book in one long continuous tunnel. 

Mix it up by providing other materials to build with to provide different challenges. Ask your child to look around the house and see what ideas they come up with. 


- Make your child aware of the problem solving they are doing. "How are you going to get that ramp to stay leaning up against that book without it falling over?" "Putting the 2 books back-to-back like that for extra sturdiness was a great sollution/idea. Well done!" etc


Instead of always giving your child directions as to how they are expected to play, I like to mix it up and create "invitations" to play where children can explore and figure out for themselves what they can do. This type of open-ended activity allows the child to take the activity to a level they are comfortable with while giving them the freedom to explore different angles. Your child may come up with other fabulous games/activities with just these 2 materials.


- Use new language and descriptive words when talking to your child about what they are doing, like, "balancing" and "gravity" This will help with their language development and conceptual understanding.




Happy playing,
Debs :)



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22 comments:

  1. I love this, the simplest activities always turn out the best at our house, especially when it provokes some imaginary play! What a great idea with all sorts of possibilities.

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  2. My boys do this sometimes and love it

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  3. I adore this post! I remember playing with books like this as a kid!

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  4. This is great Debs, I love how you took the ordinary and turned it into something amazing! Such a wonderful experience for kids :-)

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  5. Such a great idea and a wonderful way to get kids playing with books. Books serve so many purposes.

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  6. Fantastic Debs! Quite the imagination, you little one. :)

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  7. Oh this looks like loads of fun!! What a brilliant idea! :) Your book collection looks a lot ours! :)

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  8. What a simple idea and one that everyone at home to do! I might have to set this one up for the Twinkles. Miss Possum isn;t into cars but they are.

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  9. What I love most about this invitation/activity, is that is helps children to feel comfortable with books, to enjoy interacting with them. I'm sure for any reluctant reader it would make sitting down with a book far less daunting.

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  10. I'm torn between admiration for the idea, and a little facial twitch at the thought of what my son would do to our books if we tried this. Maybe I'll pick some up at the thrift shop for the purpose.

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  11. Debs this is BRILLIANT! What absolute fun! Going to give this a go tomorrow.

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  12. I love the idea of playing with things that we already have around the house, just in a different way.

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  13. Love this as an integrated approach to vocabulary-- like you suggested, using words like balance and gravity! Perfect.

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  14. All of your photos here are fantastic! I love the fifth one down especially- this is just a fantastic idea- I'm definitely going to try it out!

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  15. Great idea Debs! My only problem is that one twin will be knocking down as the other tries to build! Little Miss looks like she had such a great time!

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  16. What a fresh idea! I will have to try this one. I love the scientific concepts at play. I like the idea of using board books because I always try to impress on the children that we must care for and respect our books. No harm can come if we are careful though!

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  17. I love when you can use materials around the house for some great learning. And it's always fun to mix two materials that wouldn't normally go together to discover new things. I've done some similar things like this for Little A.

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  18. Building with books sounds like a lot of fun. My boys would probably turn them into roads for their toy cars. Thanks for linking up to The Children's Bookshelf.

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  19. I love, love, love the simplicity of this idea. I think some moms think they have to come up with crazily creative or complicated activities for their kids, but this one would take next to no effort but would give them hours of fun. We'll definitely be doing this!

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  20. This is so simple and yet so wonderful! So glad to have come across your site... I am going to give this a go tomorrow!
    Ronnie xo

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  21. Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Tots! I featured your post on In Lieu of Preschool: http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/2012/11/books-plus-creativity-on-Tuesday-Tots-linky.html Off to pin now! And sorry for the late notice as I'm behind this week, but I'm glad you saw the feature already!! :)

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Thanks for taking the time to comment! I love reading them all.