Role play gets your jobs done!
Never is there an easier way to get young children helping with jobs than to get them into a role. Get them fully engaged in imaginative play and before you know it the ‘characters’ have dusted, organised, baked, written, vacuumed, weeded… Just imagine what you could do with your own little helpers this Christmas.
Santa’s little helpers just for you.
Two years ago I successfully ‘trained’ my own personal helpers. Never had my Christmas preparation gone so smoothly. As a home educator at the time, I had a strong desire to incorporate everyday life into our learning and play opportunities and, like many of us, I was starting to feel overwhelmed with how much I wanted to get done during advent. I give myself too much with all seasonal activities but somehow at Christmas there is just so much more to choose from! As we have now done for many years, initially we printed our wrapping paper (random star potato prints, but this could easily have been more mathematical with repeating patterns or sequences), and following this we set up an elf workshop in the lounge.
Nothing complex, just 4 simple work stations:
1. Weighing area
2. Measuring area
3. Cutting area
4. Wrapping area
Learning through play
We planned these together, making signs and preparing resources before setting to work. The areas speak for themselves. What was key was how the learning was extended so that it was fun, but learning through play was evident throughout. We devised a basic chart to record the weight and length of each present before we moved it to the cutting area where I had to follow the recorded measurement to accurately cut the paper. My son ‘quality controlled’ this! We then wrapped together and placed presents in weight, or size order, before placing under the tree.
I am in a factory
When I set about creating play ideas for a Kitcamp factory it was with this Christmas preparation in mind. How exciting this would have been had we built upon this play with a conveyer belt, a dispatch area where we could send our parcels down a chute. A child can easily build a factory and the play ideas are endless just from this one topic!
Factory role play area
Moving away from Christmas, a factory role play area lends itself to so many other wonderful scenarios. How fabulous it will be to bring ‘Baggy Brown’ to life and create funnels and tubes down which to send bits of fluff and fur to squidge and hoosh and ‘build’ a bear!
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
There is, of course, Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Add the silicone sink, some pots and spoons and you have a kitchen. Produce can be packaged, priced, weighed, sent and, of course, eaten. Alternatively, chocolate scented play dough and some recycled chocolate box inserts allow sorting and sizing activities.
To follow up, my children love the inventioneers app. It’s not all factories, but the imagery inspires and the problem solving involved is engaging (and just a little addictive; it’s not often that I am the one refusing to give up on my ‘go’ on the iPad!) and suits various ages.
Finally, to bring in mark making and fine motor skills, look at the detail from a 6 year old that a factory drawing can incorporate. I love these!