Friday, August 1, 2014

Intentional Play: July (the wrap up)

This past month's theme was easy-peasy. Cars, trucks, construction - well, that's just normal, everyday play around here.

To take it up a notch, I combined his loves with playdough and brought the road indoors. Yep, that's right, we made a road. Following the quite detailed step-by-step process outlined in one of our library finds, we built the road from scratch - marking it out, 'clearing the path', dumping on a base layer of rocks, spreading 'tar' and rolling and smoothing. We put up street signs and street lights and 'painted' the marks on the road. It was a glorious 45 minutes of construction, with Dear Boy turning the pages and explaining each stage before we worked out how we could do it together with what we had. The black playdough is sitting in the fridge, waiting for another road, another day.

For the whole month, I also kept our version of a sensory tub in the living room. It's actually our baby bike seat box retaped inside out from our January adventures with boating, but it was big enough to tip in our construction rocks, all the construction trucks, road signs (from our wooden train set) and all the spades and gardening forks. There was much loading and dumping. There were also quite a few stray rocks around the room but most stayed in the box.

His list of construction machine typology is amazing - and, even when I can't, he can tell the difference between a loader, a backhoe loader, an excavator, a bulldozer, and all manner of other heavy machinery (he also possesses a scary knowledge of farm machinery - including combine harvesters and all manner of tractor attachments... hay balers, sprayers, seeders, and so on).

We've had a huge number of truck and construction related books available for this theme. Our favourites (which we own or have borrowed quite a few times from the library) include:

  • Roadworks by Sutton & Lovelock (this one has a sequel called Demolition, which I wish I could have found for this theme)
  • The little yellow digger by Betty & Alan Gilderdale (this one also has some sequels and activity books and things that we might check out)
  • Where do diggers sleep at night? by Sayres & Slade
  • Tip tip, dig dig by Garcia
  • The happy man and his dump truck by Miryam (an old Little Golden Book)
  • Dig dig digging by Mayo & Ayliffe (which Dear Boy knows by heart)
  • First 100 machines (a Bright Baby book and an awesome hand-me-down)
  • Cars, trucks, planes and trains by Rindon & SI Artists (this is a Fisher Price Little People book with flip-up bits - I'm not a huge fan of the toys but Dear Boy adores this book. I love that the construction worker is a woman called Carrie)
It's been a little thin on the ground, songs-wise but I've been giving the following a good go (although none have trumped 'Wheels on the bus' as his all-time favourite song):
  • 'Johnny works with one hammer'
  • 'Build it up, build it up, build it high' (via Playschool)
  • 'Convoy' (The Simpsons version)
  • 'Keep on truckin' (I don't even know if this is a proper song or and ad I heard somewhere)
  • 'Drive a Truck' (by StoryBots - if you haven't yet discovered the StoryBots, they're pretty awesome and have a great range of songs for entertaining fractious toddlers - be warned this song gets stuck way on in your brain. Lovely Husband and I have been singing it for days on end)

We didn't have a big adventure this month, but did lots of little trips to construction zones, gazing through the chain-link fences and peep holes in plywood at all manner of muddy holes and machinery. There's a massive crane a few blocks away lifting prefab slabs onto a new retirement home that we can see from the front yard. 

Next month, it's science - w00t! We're talking dinosaurs, fossils, evolution through natural selection, gravity, and some awesome empirical testing via the five senses. We might even make a volcano. W00t w00t!

What have you been playing at your house?


  1. I love that road idea! I have a car-obsessed toddler who would love that.

    1. It was a really nice activity to do together, especially with the book we'd been reading for a while, so he was familiar enough with it to boss me around and tell me how to build the road or what we needed.


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