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.
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.
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The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle is more than a cute book about a crabby bug. The Ladybug 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 ladybug 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 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.