Paper Doll Sticky Wall

sticky wall paper doll activity Paper dolls are a ton of fun but if you think back to when you were a kid you might remember that they were also tricky to keep clothed. Their outfits are kept on by folding the paper and inserting a teeny tiny tab into the doll. I remember having a lot of naked paper dolls. My mom picked up this super cute paper doll set for my daughter when she went on an Alaskan cruise but after playing with it once the frustration was more memorable than the fun. Then I devised a way to play frustration free!

paper doll activity

Gather your materials you will need some paper dolls, painter’s tape, and contact paper.

sticky wall activity

Start by mounting your contact paper on the wall with painter’s tape. Don’t forget to have the sticky side on the outside.

paper doll activity

Next trim your dolls a little. I hated doing this because I liked that the girls were such normal proportions but if we want the clothing to attach to the contact paper we’ll need to trim.

paper doll wall ready to play

Add the dolls, their clothing and accessories to the wall. I put the clothing for each doll on a separate side and had the dolls in the middle.

paper doll wall playing

Invite your child to come play.

paper doll playing

Play.

paper doll wall playing with the dolls

I love paper dolls as a play item because they encourage storytelling so naturally. My daughter started making up stories about these two little girls immediately. I loved hearing the story she created for them, but best of all, I loved that she could play frustration free.

Ladybug Wings Costume

ladybug craft My kids know that I will play along with pretend play. I will press imaginary elevator buttons, have conversations with imaginary friends, and fill a plate for them at the dinner table too. I love pretend play because by playing along I have been invited into my children’s world and have learned things about who they are and who they want to be. Their rich imaginations carry them through most of their pretend play but sometimes they decide they need some props or a costume. Then it’s time to hit up Mama for help. When your kids come to ask you to make them something I beg you to help only as much as they need you to. My goal is to support but not direct , to act as a scaffold not a blueprint. If a young child has a clear image of what they want and it’s far beyond their ability to make still try not to swoop in, instead remind them that anything is possible when you imagine it.

My daughter came to me begging to help make Ladybug wings costume. The first thing I asked her was how she thought we could make them. We looked around together to look for materials. I showed her some cardboard and she explained to me how we could make wings… so we did.

Gather your materials. You will need some tape, cardboard, a pair of good scissors, red paint, dark paint ( she chose a purple do a dot paint marker) , a paint brush or two, two rubber bands, and some pipe cleaners. We also used our drop cloth because it was too wet to do this outside. ladybug girl wings

Start by drawing wings on the cardboard and cutting them out. ladybug girl wings for kids

Next attach some pipe cleaners 3/4 of the way up the bottom side of the wings. I curved them into circles and attached them with masking tape.

Add a rubber band and the end of the wing. This will go around the child’s wrist. Use tape to secure it. lady bug costume wings for kids

Get your tester to see if the wings work. Flap around a bit. how to make lady bug wings

Time to paint. I didn’t direct this I just let her go for it. If they want to use crayons, markers, or stickers… they are their wings let them roll with it. ladybug wings painting

Add the dots! ladybug wings spots

Let dry and play!!lady bug wings costumes for kidsLadybug Books

All our book lists include affiliate links.

 

very grouchy ladybug

 

The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle is more than a cute book about a crabby bug. The Lady bug is looking for a fight and each hour she finds a bigger and bigger animal to fight with until she is unintentionally slapped by a big whale’s tail! I loved using this book to teach telling time, as there is a picture of an analog clock on each page. I would use a play clock and as I read each page ask one child to come and set our classroom clock. Also don’t be put off by the fact that the lady bug tries to pick fights, no animal takes her up on her offer and you can spin that into a great lesson about not giving into people who are trying to pick fights.

ladybug girl

Ladybug Girl Dresses Up! by Jacky Davis is one positive girl book that my daughter at 2 already adores. In this board book Lulu dresses up in a handful of different costumes including both “girl” ones and “boy” ones. She is equally happy in a princess dress as she is as a pirate. The one costume she loves above all the rest is her Ladybug Girl one, because as Ladybug Girl she can do anything. The message I want to send to my daughter more than any other, she can do anything even if she may have to work as hard as a superhero.

 

Build Your Own Zoo – Pretend Play

draw build and play zooThe battle against screen time is a constant struggle with my kindergartener so when I find an activity that he loves and keeps him engaged for a long time I feel like I’ve won the lottery. This build your own zoo pretend play  hit all the right notes for him. I intended it to be for both kids but my daughter was not so excited about his vision for the zoo so we read zoo animal books while he crafted his very own zoo. I loved how involved he was from start to finish and that I could work in some writing practice ( every little bit helps) that didn’t feel like practice at all.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some craft paper ( get it at the dollar store and save!) , blocks, animal toys/ puzzle pieces , crayons, some painters tape and scissors.zoo blocks
  2. Start by cutting a large piece of craft paper block zoo cuttingand taping it ( using the painter’s tape ) to the floor. Only do this on hard surfaces or the paper will rip and tear when you try to write and draw on it.block zoo activity for kids
  3. Talk about the design for a zoo. My son and I have made up worlds we tell stories about all the time ( Mine is called Mommyland … original eh?) and we decided to base the layout on the zoo from his imagination. I drew the outline as he explained it to me but the rest was up to him.
  4. Next sort the animals and build their enclosures.zoo block play writing He started with snakes. These stretchy snakes are adored in our house for some odd reason . He wrote the sign, the built the house and arranged the snakes. It took a lot of patience to arrange them just so.zoo block play
  5. Arctic animals were next. Starting with the sign zoo block play for kidsthen building the structure and adding the animals. zoo block play for kids 2
  6. Africa and the petting zoo were next followed by the whales.block zoo play No he didn’t write those words , after a few he asked if I could do it and I did to keep the momentum of the play going. The goal wasn’t to force him to write it was to play so I was happy to help.zoo block pretend play
  7. I think the most interesting observation for me watching my son do this was how he really wanted a specific design. I loved seeing him sit back like this to take it all in.zoo blocks pretend play

Books

Books-About-The-Zoo

Check out our favorite books about the zoo here! I like to include books with activities to deepen the learning and extend the interest in the topic.

Alphabet Activity – Pretend Play With Letters

alphabet mail activity for kidsThis was a rainy Sunday activity thrown together with a old favorite pretend play prop. It’s a great alphabet activity with a focus on pretend play and part of our Alphabet For Starters series.  My son and I made this mail box years ago and it had been a while since I’d dug it out of my son’s closet to play.  We added in some envelopes and letters and got down to the serious business of play!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a super cool mailbox like this one we made from a box, some envelopes, small squares of paper, markers, plain labels, and a bag or purse to use as a mail bag.alphabet mail
  2. Start by having your child write some letters.alphabet mail 2
  3. While they do that write out the envelopes with upper and lowercase letters.alphabet mail 3
  4. Fill them with the letters your child writes. I filled a few with other letters as well . alphabet mail 5
  5. Next add stamps. Ours were added haphazardly after my daughter demanded we find some. I just wrote STAMP on some plain labels.alphabet mail 6
  6. Pop them on the envelopes.alphabet mail 7
  7. Time to play.alphabet mail 9 We put each letter in the mailbox stopping to read each envelope as we did. alphabet mail 10
  8. When we were done she lifted the box and the play turned into receiving mail. alphabet mail 11
  9. She loved opening them. alphabet mail 13Some were filled with the letters she wrote and some had more letters of the alphabet on them. Label what they open as they do. As we played some of the letters were pretend invites to parties, others were letters from grandparents and one was a bill which cracked me up. alphabet mail 12

Alphabet Books

50 alphabet books

Find our 50 favorite alphabet books for kids in this big round up of books. Do you have a favorite?

13 DIY Dress Up Costumes & Props

do it yourself costumes and props for dress up and pretend playPretend play is a must but spending too much on costumes and props is not. We love finding costumes at big box stores on clearance after Halloween but we also love making our own. Most of these DIY costumes and props are still around my house and are among the most treasured play things. These are all fantastic ways to support your child’s pretend play even if pretending doesn’t come naturally to you.

Paper Bag Cowboy Costume
Easy Princess Tutu
Batman Mask
Princess Wand
Superhero Cuff
Pirate Hat
Light Saber
Alien Headgear
Knight Shield
Pig Nose
Heart Wand
Creature Power Suit
Paper Beard