Does anyone else get sick of all the plastic tat our children play with? I know it’s easy to mass produce and is often emblazed with the latest craze but sometimes I just like to provide an alternative. So when I was offered a gorgeous set from Through Play, We Learn, I couldn’t resist. In fact I had such a tricky time choosing which set I (sorry I mean Jess and Emily) wanted.
The wooden peg dolls are so tactile and painted beautifully. You can really see the care that’s been taken even down to the tiny felt ears. You can buy gorgeous felt mats and story stones too. I’d have them all. We settled on the ‘We’re gong on a bear hunt’ set as that story is a favourite.
As soon as they arrived, Jessica and Emily were keen to get them out and play right away. Emily fell in love with the tiny baby from the story. I would say she is very small and although fine with my girls, you’d need to supervise closely with little ones who might be prone to putting things in their mouths. The baby, which Emily named Sophie, has been loved and played with constantly.
Because this set is so lovely and I didn’t want the pieces lost, I found a pouch to store them. Over the last week, we’ve found lots of ways to use them in their play. This got me wondering what skills their age typical develop from this type of play. I’m a primary teacher with 12 years experience in the classroom and yet I’d rarely spent any time in the early years setting.
After a quick search, I found the relevant development statements. Unsurprisingly, it’s nothing complex but still it’s nice to know how the skills build up. Obviously children all develop at their own rates and in their own ways. However, here are some of the statements that my girls are working towards by using these lovely story toys.
“Beginning to make believe by pretending” – By providing interesting items for my girls to play with I’m sparking their imagination. This encourages them to pretend these little wooden pegs are actually people.
“Build stories around toys” – Not only can they try acting out the well known story, they can also develop their own stories. We imagined one of the characters got lost in the forest and they made up their own side plot.
”Introduces a a storyline or narrative into their play” – After re-enacting the original story, we came up with an alternative ending. What would happen if the bear got in the house? After a few prompts they were off making up their own stories with the characters. They also added other toys alongside.
“Repeats words and phrases from familiar stories” – Anyone who has read ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ will know the whole story is based around repetition. Even without the toys, my girls would sing along the repeated passages. However with the peg dolls they used more expression and seemed to join in as the characters.
“Describes main story settings, events and principal characters” – As the characters travel through the different settings, my girls acted as if they were there too. For example Emily pretended to shiver during the snow storm. Jess was also keen to point out that she didn’t think the baby wanted to go into the cave.
“Uses vocabulary and forms of speech that are increasingly influenced by their experience of books” – With their peg dolls they can try out the descriptive vocabulary such as squelching through the mud, stumbling through the forest or splashing through the river. We made a simple play mat by painting some old bubble wra. They loved taking the characters through on their journey to find the bear.
If you’d like to get your hands on a gorgeous play set for your little ones then pop over and take a look at the full range at Through Play, We Learn.
Through Play, We Learn are also offering all my readers a 10% discount when they use the offer code PLAYM2T (all capitals)
Although I was gifted this lovely set all opinions and images are my own and I was not paid to write this post.