Picture Book and Play – Construction Site

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.

Peapod has been mad on playing with his builders recently so this is the first of a building site double over the next two weeks!

Yes, that is a Tool Station catalogue – nothing like a bit of ‘real life’ print! In fact, it was that rather than one of his picture books that triggered this interest in his building toys again, as he went and got his toolbox after seeing the hammers and drills in here!

He’s also enjoyed the Let’s Pretend Builders Toolkit which has pop out tools that he likes to get out and pretend to use.

I pushed plastic golf tees a little way into a box then left them out with his hammer.

This is one of those activities though that requires a bit of realism on our part; Peapod enjoyed it but it’s very much a short-bursts, short-lived one – he returned to it a few times a day over a couple of days for a few mins at a time. So don’t go expecting it to fill an hour, but since it takes no time at all to set up it’s all good, and great for hand-eye coordination and motor skills too!

A more long-lived activity, and probably Peapod’s favourite of those we’ve done, was his construction site tray. Peapod loved playing with “Orange Bear” when we had the snow in his tray, so I ordered a couple more of the diggers in that range and set them up in his tray.

We had this out for a good week and it was probably the most played with thing in that time. He spent hours here (and although the tray’s changed now, he is still playing with the diggers).

We used lots of modelling and his books to help extend his play and language in here. His favourite book to use was definitely Busy Building Site – he’s looked at this over and over again! He loves the flaps and the central character of ‘Builder Barney’ who takes us through a build from start to finish.

It’s a great book with lots of flaps to lift that help show the processes on the site; simple rhyming text to help talk us through it; ‘sound effects’ written on to engage and join in with; and, most importantly, lots of age-appropriate technical vocabulary labelling items on the pages.

Peapod has loved finding out what everything is called, matching it to his own toys where he has them, finding out what the builders are doing abd acting it out in his tray – he particularly likes digging foundations!

We adapted it as we went, adding in this ‘rubbish chute’ and ‘skip’ for example, and while he loved the pebbles and corks, he didn’t touch the bobbins despite us modelling them so I took those out. And Peapod chose to bring his other builders and people into it.

We’re also reading ‘Dig, Dig, Digging’ by Margaret Mayo and Alex Ayliffe most days and he likes to match the vehicles in the book to his own toy ones.

While it doesn’t explicitly say its poetry, I don’t know what else you’d call each short rhythmic passage – one for each vehicle, filled with onomatopoeia, repetition and action. A perfect, slightly surreptitious introduction to poetry!

As well as matching his vehicles to the images in the book, he also likes to bring them over to match to his jigsaws!

And of course, it wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t include one of the duds – this week play dough!

I made playdough and put it out with his tools, with the idea of making prints – hammering, drilling, screwing into it etc. – and while he did do this for all of two minutes, the dough quickly became a cake and the screws candles! He enjoyed it and that’s the main thing 😂

Join us next week for more building-themed stories and play!

What have you been reading and playing this week?