I’m aware of the pressure that parents are feeling, confronted with hundreds of beautiful Instagram images showing elaborate play activities and homeschooling set-ups. I’m feeling it myself! There are so many amazing ideas on my feed but none of them involve fifteen episodes of Peppa in a row. Even as someone who has a flexible job and early years expertise, I am not giving my son the lockdown experience I would design if nothing else was a factor.
But something else is always a factor. The juggle is real, particularly right now.
When I put ideas on this blog, I don’t want to add to your to-do list or your guilt. Today, my suggestion is for the easiest way you can make an activity inspired by the book.
What do I do?
Just do what’s in the book.
Oh wow, great tip
I know. Hopefully you’re not insulted by the simplicity of this. I hope it’s just a reassuring reminder that even uncomplicated play inspired by a story produces valuable learning for your child.
Children’s stories often describe common and everyday experiences, even if they are about non-human characters. Whatever happens in the book, your child can reenact it using objects at home. Stories with more fantastical elements just require a dash of imagination.
We’re currently staying at my mum’s house, so I’m getting to rediscover lots of the books I read as a child. It’s lovely sharing them with my son. We have so many Shirley Hughes titles and I can see why my mum chose them. The stories are relatable and sweet and the illustrations are gorgeous.
Sally’s Secret is an early one, from 1973. It’s about a girl who likes to make pretend houses and describes how she made a house in a bush. It’s become one of my son’s favourites. One night, when we read it for a bedtime story, we decided we would make our own house the next day.
I found an old sheet and grabbed some bits and bobs from the kitchen. I arranged them invitingly in a basket with the book because you can take the teacher out of the early years setting but you can’t take the early years setting out of the teacher!
Then we played in the house. We served each other coffee (his choice) and stirred it. I put a few leaves and flowers in the cupcake cases but my son wasn’t that interested. We were joined by a Lego car and plane.
That’s it. By doing this activity my son was learning the story, echoing some of the sentences and developing role play. He was also learning how to be careful with Granny’s special cups! I used a few resources but they took less than three minutes to find. There are lots of book plots you can try without any resources or with just as few.
Where the Wild Things Are – stomp around having your own wild rumpus.
Where’s Spot? – hide a toy and find it.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – go on a bear hunt.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea – have a tea party.
Room on the Broom – sit on a stick and fly around.
Goodnight Moon – take yourself off to bed and give your parents a rest.
Low-key doesn’t mean low impact
Read a book and unleash your kids or join in with their play. So much learning is invisible so don’t worry if running round with a stick isn’t on the homeschool timetable.
If you don’t take a photo of it, it doesn’t mean it never happened! But if you do, tag me @treehousemolly. I’d love to know if this was helpful.