A few weeks before Dimples had his 5th Birthday Party, a construction themed party, I had an idea to make a back drop type play station for the party so the kids could play with all sorts of construction themed toys in a small world diorama. Some kids are sensory challenged and don tlike dirt, mud and getting their hands all gross so this was an easy outdoor option on a smaller scale.
We started with an open cardboard box and some paint, it developed from there with some roads and cotton wool dirt piles and a rubbish pile glue in one corner. On the day of his party I put some cocoa pops and rice bubbles out for the kids to "dig into". I had seen the idea of using rice bubbles a couple years ago on Paint on the ceiling and always kept it in the back of my head hoping that one year Dimples would want a digging themed party.
This was it and it worked a treat.
During the weeks before, Dimples practised his scissor skills cutting out some buildings or 'skyscrapers' to stick on the back drop, he helped paint, glue and decorate the back drop. So the cardboard box which was just opened up on an angle and then stapled together so that it kept steady yet open enough for play slowly turned into a mini world full of construction. It was turning into a cool looking pretend play zone and Dimples had a blast making it come to life bit by bit leading up to his party.
Dimples loves craft, it was his idea to glue in some cotton wool balls and paint them brown to resemble a pile of rocks, and then in another corner he glued in "rubbish" which was ripped pieces of paper. I added some drawings, like a demolition ball on a crane and the windows in the buildings. It was looking more like a 3D small world by now. We added some road work signs and little traffic toys that he had along with a collection of construction vehicles and there he had his own construction area for pretend play. Dimples loves imaginative pretend play and small world areas, they give play time a realistic element.
It was a small construction zone for a couple of weeks before and he continues to love it for weeks after his birthday party, it proved to be a realistic little 3D small world on the day of his party and looked realistic with piles of pretend rubble. The coco pops and rice bubbles were a great sensory add on to the 3D world, they bought it to life and worked well getting dumped around and bulldozed over. The fit inside dump trucks and were able to get pushed around and cleared. The boys were happy to taste some and it is a safe alternative for younger kids as well.
I imagined that on the day they would get spread out everywhere but it was a risk worth taking, the boys were quite happy to play with them at the 3D small world construction station and used them in their imaginative play the way they were intended. They were able to spread them out all over the table and a majority of them did exactly that, carting, hauling, dumping and loading trucks tractors and construction vehicles all over the scene. It was definitely a fun alternative to digging in the dirt.
What other alternatives to dirt and mud would your kids love to dig in to?
Small World Play Ideas from around the Web
Benefits of Small World Play - Happy Feet Penguins By Adventures at Home with Mum
Using Books to Create Small World Play By My little Bookcase
Frog Pond Small world Play By One Perfect Day
A Rainbow Stacker small world By You clever Monkey
Sand Dough Small world Beach By Adventures at Home with Mum
Farm Small World Play By Two Daloo
Free Small World Printable By Picklebums
Outdoor Small World Magical Gnome Garden By Adventures at Home with Mum
Monster Truck Sensory Track with Faux Dirt By Paging Fun Mums
Styrofoam Ice Capsules and Penguins in water beads By Adventures at Home with Mum