Thursday, November 15, 2012

Observing and Creating Roadways with Toddlers

Lately my son has been very enthusiastic about his little toy cars.  It seems like they are always the first thing he runs to after finishing his breakfast in the morning.   One day not long ago, I decided to encourage him to stretch his imagination a bit and take it to the next level.  Whenever I find something he's passionate about, I try to think of ways that he can expand his understanding and connect his play to real world concepts.  After we spent a bit of time driving them around the living room, I asked him if he want to make roads that his cars could travel on.  I, of course, was met with an enthusiastic "yes," so we headed into the kitchen to get started.

The first thing I grabbed was some painter's tape out of the closet and a Sharpie to make the lines for the road.  My son watched carefully as I placed a couple of "roads" on the kitchen floor.  I asked him where he thought they should go and eventually gave him the tape to create the roads for himself.  He loved it! Once we had enough roads in our little town, it was time to expand.  I wanted to see what he understood about roadways, so I asked him, "What do you see on the roads outside?" It was no surprise to me that he said, "Cars!"  So, we rounded them up and brought them in the kitchen.

toy cars, roads
These are the roads that Grady created himself!

After we placed all of the cars on the road and drove them around for a bit, I asked him what else he sees outside on the street. His next answer made me smile, "Guys!"  Everyone is a "guy" to Grady...boys, girls, and sometimes even animals!  So, we went to collect our Little People and add to the mix.  After placing the people near the streets of our town, he wasn't sure what else we needed.  I gently suggested houses and he agreed that he does, in fact, see houses while we're out and about.  And so, our roadways were complete!

toy cars, creating roads

As time went on we found a few more items to make our roadways match what we usually see out in the real world...buses found their way in, a couple of animals, and a barn like the one down the street.  He was content for quite sometime driving his cars and people around our little town and simply using his imagination.

Once he was finished, we decided to go outside for a little walk and observe what we saw as we strolled along the road.  Hopefully, by inspecting and discussing what we see along the way, this will help him come up with more ideas for the next time we create a roadway indoors.  Just to make our observations a bit more official, we brought along a notebook and color to record what we saw! 

toddler observations
Along the way I asked him what he noticed on or by the roads and he came up a few more thoughts during our walk.  Rocks, trees, and grass we at the top of the list!  I encouraged him to draw what he was seeing as I pulled him along in the wagon and it was adorable! He was so serious about his drawings.

recording observations

Ta-da! His finished drawing! 

It is just amazing what toddlers can learn simply from connecting pretend play to real world models.  I can't wait to try this simple activity out with him again to see what he comes up with the next time we create an indoor roadway!  

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  1. This is such a great idea! While out should be hard to do the observation bit on a rainy day, making a road on the kitchen floor would be the perfect rainy, or snowy, day activity. Perfectly simple :)

  2. *it would. I should never comment from my phone!

  3. I LOVE how you connected pretend play with real life experiences. Thanks for sharing at the Sunday Showcase! I'm featuring you this week. :)

  4. Morning! Just popping by to let you know I’ve featured this on The Sunday Showcase!

  5. What a wonderful way of connecting pretend play to the real world!

  6. Great way of playing which related with real world so that a toddler boy can earn great knowledge.


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