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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