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?

Picture Book & Play – Snow

Picture Book & Play is a new weekly post where we look at a picture book or books Peapod’s been enjoying recently and some of the play we’ve had based on it.

If you and your little ones do similar bookish play, we’d love you to join in with Picture Book & Play and to let us know what you’ve been doing too!

We’ve been lucky enough to have some actual, real snow in the last couple of weeks so since Christmas, we’ve been reading lots of books about snow.

Lots of the activities we’ve been doing are really general and link in to any and all of these, like our snow paintings using cotton wool, corks, cotton buds to print snowflakes…

Or throwing “snowballs” using ball pit balls (no pics sorry, too busy lobbing balls at my toddler!)

Others are pretty general but were done because of an interest in particular stories, like Peapod’s snowmen.

Peapod’s been loving using scissors recently, so I got this ready for him to practice that. I drew the outline of the snowman then he coloured and cut out the hat (with help!) and cut strips of coloured paper for the scarves. He chose to do a second one drawing the face (“eyes, orange nose, draw mouth with finger”) and buttons himself.

We watched this over New Year and then read the book and Peapod has really taken to it. I’m really glad that we have a few copies – one with text based on the film (that we read at bedtime) and other original ones with no text that are brilliant for really looking at and talking about during the day.

As well as our big colour and cut snowmen, we have acted this out a billion times a day and Peapod’s enjoyed our Snowman jigsaws too.

And just to prove it doesn’t always go to plan, is printed some Snowmen for us to add buttons to. Peapod couldn’t have cared less about the buttons but loved making them dance, say hello and explore our house like the snowman in the story!

We’ve also read One Snowy Night by Nick Butterworth at least twice a day for the past week and Peapod’s new favourite word is definitely “chuckled” – he loves that “Percy chuckled” – but also just loves retelling the story, so we’ve had a little story basket to do that with too.

But far and away Peapod’s favourite thing we’ve done has been his snow tray, loosely based on Maisy’s Christmas Eve by Lucy Cousins, in which Maisy pulls her friend Eddie out if the snow with a tractor.

We first read this during our Book Advent and he was instantly grabbed by it, since he is obsessed with Postman Pat’s Rainy Day in which a tractor gets stuck in the mud and there’s a road block!

So we used both of those as a starting point, adding packing foam bits, tractors, diggers, a couple of houses and the animals from Maisy to the tray and going from there – the animals and tractors have been stuck and pulled out, dug out or found as the snow plough cleared the snow and much more.

We’ve had a solid two days out of this now playing very little else. It has been a huge hit!

What are your favourite snowy picture books or activities?