Monday, August 11, 2008

Planet-Friendly Pretend Play

Here's a supergreat preschooly idea I found on the Woodmouse Loves Crafts blog: Instead of automatically throwing your cardboard packaging into the recyclables bin, look for serving suggestion photos on those old food stuffs boxes... and carefully cut those suckers out! When combined with pretend play kiddy kitchen pots, pans & plates, the pictures of yummy delicious fruits & meats (and pancakes!) make for ideal imaginary meals. What an earth-happy alternative to plastic toys! It's free, easy, and as the images get gunky and bendy, you can just toss them in the recyclables bin and replace with new pictures!

Possible learning extensions:

Observation: Encourage "food pictures spotting" while your family is cooking/preparing food/eating. Take note of any special boxes with great food images, and remember to set them aside to save.

Sensory Exploration: If your child goes food picture spotting cuckoo-bananas and requests saving flimsy, non-cardboard images (from bags, magazines, etc.), cut those out too. Let her feel & discuss the difference in texture, strength, etc.

Sorting: Have your child sort the sturdy paper and flimsy paper (sometimes it can be hard to do just by touch alone... you can also try holding the image up to the light... can you see through it?... We can often see through flimsy things...)

Creative Art Expression: Use the non-cardboard images to make a food collage (by gluesticking the pictures onto a plain piece of construction paper, or a paper plate.)

Team work: Older children can be in charge of cutting out & distributing new pretend play food images for their younger preschoolish siblings (enthusiastic participants can even set up a grocery store type shopping experience.)

Choices/Counting: Have a set monthly "shopping" day. Let children switch out old worn images for new ones (tossing three images? Count them out, then "shop" for three new ones.)

Environmental Awareness: Together, place any worn images in the recyclables bin.

Pretending is fun!

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