Picture Book and Play – Jack and the Beanstalk

Picture Book And Play is a weekly post in which we look at a picture book (or books) Peapod’s been enjoying recently and some of the play we’ve had based on it.

We’ve actually not done a huge amount of anything this week after a busy Easter weekend finally being able to see family, hunting for eggs and going for walks.

So I’ve picked out a story that we return to often and some of our past play activities around it – Jack and the Beanstalk.

I’ve talked before (many times!) about the brilliant Campbell First Stories range (here or here for example). Peapod loves this edition of Jack (illustrated by Natascha Rosenberg), especially finding Jack hiding in the cupboard or chopping down the beanstalk and seeing the giant fall!

The moving parts remain a big draw and the simplified, rhyming version of the story is a great first telling for little ones.

We added the Peep Inside version to put collection too as it’s a slightly longer, more faithful version, including for example the essential “Fee Fi Fo Fum…” lines which are a must in our house! Peapod loves shouting them out when playing!

The rich illustrations and intricate cut outs of the peep through elements add a more grown up touch and make these a really attractive series to read and handle too.

I also really like the way there’s a lift-the-flap style to some of the pages and peep-inside parts, which helps retain an interactive feature that children always enjoy.

The Peep Inside books are the perfect follow on from the Campbell First Stories, and we’ll be adding lots more to our collection!

Obviously, there’s so much you could do with this story; it’s one we could (and no doubt will) return to repeatedly over the years adding in lots of different activities – planting, natural collage, painting, measuring, counting, as well as variations on what we did this time with sensory activities, role play and building/small world.

This was by far Peapod’s favourite – building the castle and beanstalk and using figures to tell the story!

He also used his climbing toys as a beanstalk – climbing up, stealing the gold and sliding down before chopping it down!

He’s been practising his cutting so we started making a giant beanstalk but he lost interest once it was time to add any leaves! Still, we cut and stuck a lovely, long, green stripe!

We made a tray using butter beans, gold coins and green covered cardboard tubes for filling, pouring, hiding, stacking, dropping…

… and building of course! It just wouldn’t have been the same of the builders and diggers didn’t get involved 😂

What have you been reading and playing this week?

Picture Book and Play – Builders

Picture Book And Play is a weekly post in which we look at a picture book (or books) Peapod’s been enjoying recently and some of the play we’ve had based on it.

Last week, I wrote about a lot of our construction themed books and play, and this week follows on from that as we look at a few more of our building themed stories and activities.

Peapod has got two versions of The Three Little Pigs that he really enjoys – the Campbell First Stories board book and one by Nick Sharratt and Stephen Tucker. We love both and have others in both these series that I’d really recommend!

Both have bouncy, rhythmic, rhyming text and interactive parts (the first with moving parts and the second has flaps), with plenty to look at and tall about. And of course both end with wolf burning his bottom in the cooking pot which he finds hilarious! (though his favourite part in the Sharratt/Tucker version is the spider in wolf’s empty cupboard!)

I adlib a bit to flesh out the Campbell version and to add in the traditional phrases from the story and its lovely hearing Peapod joining in with these now too as we read and act it out using some of his animals and construction blocks.

Obviously I helped build the houses, but that was sort of the point as Peapod has a lot of blocks but doesn’t often choose to play with them. So I hoped to get him a bit more into them by using them for this.

It didn’t really get him building, but he liked telling the story and definitely enjoyed being the wolf and blowing the houses down!!

Likewise, this classic from Allan Ahlberg and Colin McNaughton‘s Happy Families range, in which Mr and Mrs Brick worry that their new baby is not a builder like them and all the Bricks that have gone before.

He loves seeing Baby Brick knock all the houses down, immediately chose to play it after we’d finished reading it for the first time and going back to it often this week.

Again the joy was very much in us building and him (sorry, Baby Brick!) knocking it all down, but that was great fun and it’s helped us get playing with the bricks which meant that once they were out and a over the floor he started coming up with his own game.

I had to walk the people through them and they get stuck as their paths are blocked. I then extended this to us building towers in all the directions they were trying to go and he was soon throwing up towers like there’s no tomorrow!

He’s slowly starting to venture into walls, buildings and steps too, and while it’s still mostly us building any kind of recognisable structure, he is starting to have a go.

Peapod’s “house – there’s the door!”

We’ve also been building and playing with bridges, thanks to one of Peapod’s current favourite snack time reads – Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

We’ve read it repeatedly and thoroughly enjoy it with its zippy rhyming text and wonderfully detailed, funny and stylish illustrations.

Peapod’s favourite bit is, of course the tower of dirty nappies which he thinks is hilarious! But he’s also fascinated by the bridge Iggy and his classmates build at the end of the book too and really pores over it!

We’ve also done some building block printing this week.

This was one of those ‘bite-your-tongue-and-step-back’ activities, as he soon decided block printing was all well and good, but actually painting his builders and printing with them and getting handfuls of paint to make mud/cover them in it was much more fun!

He had a ball, was so involved and then spent a good deal of time in the water washing them too so win-win!

Do your little ones like to build?

Which picture books have you read this week?