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Using Books to Create Small World Play Scenes

Using Books to Create Small World Play Scenes_ My Little Bookcase

Creating imaginative small worlds is a favourite activity for most kids, and we’ve recently discovered that the pages and illustrations in our favourite picture books can really help to add character and setting to our small world play.

Last year we created our own worry dolls, and when we saw this ‘Little Ballet School’ on At Home with Ali, we decided to turn our worry dolls into ballerinas during a play session prompted by Nurturestore’s #simpleplay challenge.

We poked holes in the lid of a shoe box to act as a stage, at which point Cammy ran to find her newest book from Santa, A Dictionary of Dance. Initially, she just wanted to find the page with the stage, but after a little conversation we discovered that the book would make a fabulous backdrop and add colour and activity to the little stage we had already created.

Using Books to Create Small World Ballerina Scenes_ My Little Bookcase

OTHER PLAY SCENES:

We have since found some other books that lend themselves beautifully to backdrops for small world play. Our worry dolls have become all sorts of characters too:

The City:

Along with some wooden toys from our train set, Last Tree in the City by Peter Carnavas helped us to create a beautiful city play scene.

Using Books to Create Small World City Scene_ My Little Bookcase

The Circus:

We used I’ve an Uncle Ivan by Ben Sanders as a backdrop for our circus scene. Our worry dolls walked a tightrope of string and used bangles as hula hoops.

Using Books to Create Small World Circus Scene_ My Little Bookcase

The Jungle:

The Frog Who Lost his Underpants by Juliette MacIver and Cat Chapman is a really funny story. The illustrations inspired our play scene. We found some jumping frogs and attached some string to the book to act as Tarzan vine.

Using Books to Create Small World Jungle Scene_ My Little Bookcase

Kindergarten:

Cammy is at kinder for 15 hours per week this year and she loves to re-enact what happens there, even in her small world play. I Don’t Believe in Dragons by Anna Walker provided the perfect backdrop, while Cammy’s worry dolls enjoyed books, playdough and lego.

Using Books to Create Small World Kindergarten/School Scenes_ My Little Bookcase

The Aquarium:

We actually don’t have a lot of small world play pieces. Luckily with the use of books, they are not always necessary. Here the worry dolls were visiting the aquarium using pages from Hooray for Fish by Lucy Cousins.

Using Books to Create Small World Underwater Scene_ My Little Bookcase

The Zoo:

Similarly, this scene was also fairly simple. Cammy’s worry dolls took part in the story of In the Lion by James Foley.

Using Books to Create Small World Zoo Scene_ My Little Bookcase

Which books could you use as backdrops in your small world scenes?

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My Little Bookcase Pinterest Board_ Playing with Books

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About Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Picnic Boxes

We're Going on a Bear Hunt Picnic Box_ My Little Bookcase

25th Anniversary Edition of We're Going on a Bear HuntI don’t think I need to say too much about this classic book filled with adventure, repetition, prepositions, onomatopoeia and a catchy sing-song rhythm.  I’m sure you know it very well. Personally, I can’t believe it has taken me 25 years to add it to our little family library.

That’s right! We’re Going on a Bear Hunt has been in print for 25 years, and we have three copies of the 25th Anniversary Edition to give away.

Thrilled to finally have a copy of our own and with it being read on high rotation at the moment, we were inspired to go on a bear hunt of our own.

WHAT’S INSIDE THE BEAR HUNT PICNIC BOXES?

I recently purchased some picnic boxes for my own birthday picnic. They were a huge hit and I couldn’t wait to use them again. Not only are they adorable and easy to decorate, but they are perfect for creating individual picnic boxes for your little ones. These ones were decorated simply with stamped tags and fluffy ears.

Of all the book-themed foods I’ve baked, I think the menu for our Bear Hunt Picnic Boxes has been the most fun to create. It featured simple, easy, affordable foods that were a hit with the kids.  There were a few treats in the boxes, but I also tried to include some fruits and vegetables. Below is a little run down for you.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt Picnic Boxes_ My Little Bookcase

Long wavy grass food for We're Going on a Bear Hunt Picnic_ My Little Bookcase

Colour melted white chocolate with green food colouring. Dip mini grissini sticks into the melted chocolate and sprinkle with green edible dust flakes. Once set, stand the grissini sticks in a piece of cantaloupe.

Thick oozy mud food for We're Going on a Bear Hunt Picnic_ My Little Bookcase

Fill a jar with forest berries and top with a child-friendly version of Donna Hay’s Cheat’s Chocolate-Hazelnut Mousse. Simply stir ¼ cup of Nutella through 300ml of whipped cream. This will make four jars of thick oozy mud. (Hint: You could make normal chocolate mousse or chocolate custard instead).

Big dark forest food for We're Going on a Bear Hunt Picnic

Fill a jar with a dip of your choice (we used hummus) and top with upright green veggies E.g. celery, cucumber, broccoli and snow peas (I lightly steamed our broccoli and snow peas).

Swirling whirling snowstorm food for We're Going on a Bear Hunt Picnic_My Little Bookcase

Stir a 85g of popped corn through one block of melted white chocolate. Spread onto a tray lined with baking paper and sprinkle with blue and silver edible glitter. Leave to set. Once set, break the popcorn apart and add to a clear cellophane bag. (Hint: White chocolate is not necessary but it is delicious. You could simply add the edible glitter to the bag of popcorn)

Narrow gloomy bear cave food for We're Going on a Bear Hunt Picnic_My Little Bookcase

Use a cookie cutter to create bear shaped sandwiches and place into a paper bag. Puff the paper bag a little and secure with ribbon to create a cave.

OUR BEAR HUNT PICNIC:

We fuelled ourselves with picnic food before embarking on a bear hunt. Usually Cammy helps me in the kitchen but I was excited for these picnic boxes to be a surprise. The kids were thrilled to discover the contents of the boxes.

I read the book, while the kids nibbled away on their food. Cam insisted on eating the foods in the order they appear in the book; Ike enjoyed the opportunity to feed himself independently; and their cousin, Charlie, had fun shaking her popcorn bag to create a snow storm.

Bear Hunt Picnic Boxes_ My Little Bookcase Bear Hunt Picnic Boxes_My Little Bookcase

Bear Hunt Picnic Boxes Bear Hunt Picnic Boxes_ My Little Bookcase

Bear Hunt Picnic_My Little Bookcase Bear Hunt Picnic Boxes_ My Little Bookcase

WE’RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT:

We visited a local sanctuary, which resembled the setting in the book almost perfectly. We contemplated crossing the lake, found some mud (even during the summer), and stumbled and tripped in the forest.

I also planted a bear image on one of the trees. To be honest though, Cam was quite disappointed that we didn’t find a real bear.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt_ My Little Bookcase We're Going on a Bear Hunt_ My Little Bookcase

We're Going on a Bear Hunt_My Little Bookcase We're Going on a Bear Hunt_ My Little Bookcase

FURTHER IDEAS FOR EXPLORING WE’RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT:

Small world sensory play (At Home with Ali)

Make your own felt book (Just for Daisy)

Indoor play (Learning 4 Kids)

Paint scenes from the book (Learn with Play at Home)

MORE BOOK-THEMED FOOD IDEAS:

Possum Magic Themed Party Charlie and Lola Themed Party_ My Little Bookcase

Magic Faraway Tree Themed Party The Very Hungry Caterpillar Picnic_ My Little Bookcase

My Little Bookcase Book-Themed Parties Pinterest Board

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