It started with making a Frozen ice castle out of a cardboard box and a few spare Christmas decorations. Then, when throwing out the packaging from Bee's new bed I saw some polystyrene blocks. They were white and resembled blocks of ice, perfect for an opportunity to develop Bee's creativity, imagination and physical skills, whilst attempting to build her own ice castle.
Bee loved building and knocking down her castle and keeps returning to this activity
The blocks are so open ended, children can rebuild their castles and they can be easily stored . Bee made ice castles, mazes, towers and slides.
What the critique had to say:
Who can play?
The activity is aimed at children aged three years plus, however this depends on their age and stage of development.
Ensure that your child is supervised at all times. Polystyrene, if swallowed can swell in the stomach.
Questions to ask:
- Open ended questions such as what can we build? and how?
- How tall/small is your castle/tower?
- Do you think it will be hot/cold to live in an ice castle?
What do you need?
- Polystyrene blocks
- Small world figures. we used Disney Princess', however you can use whatever you have available.
- Pine cones and silver Christmas decorations.
What did we do?
Before giving Bee the polystyrene blocks, we talked about the importance of not eating the blocks as they can swell in her stomach. Even though I know this is not what she would normally do, for safety reasons I just wanted to make sure she knew. I also gave them a shake as they had been in the garage. where the lovely spiders like to live.
Once they were ready, I placed them on the driveway, ready for her to explore. As soon as she saw them, she instantly said "I can build an ice castle with them!"
Bee showed creativity as she created slides for her Princess' to go down and used her shoes for beds.
It was quite windy outside and Bee began to get frustrated with her castle being blown over, so we took the activity inside.
Bee really unleashed her creativity, she stacked the blocks creating towers. This created a great opportunity for maths development as she used lots of maths language when describing what she was doing "My towers getting bigger", "I'm using this small brick" and "I am putting this on top"
She would also carefully position the blocks, Christmas decorations and Princess', showing hand eye coordination and developing an awareness of space.
The castle changed shape several times throughout the afternoon, as Bee experimented with the design. She played imaginatively with the small world toys and involved me in her play, making up story plots and dialogue. She developed her own thoughts and ideas.
Towards the end of the activity Bee used the polystyrene blocks to create a maze. She said that the Princess' were stuck in there and Buzz light year had to rescue them. I think this was due to a visit to the farm last year, when we struggling to find our way out of the maze maze.
What did we learn?
- Communication and language- Talking about what she is doing and using speech to convey meaning.
- Physical development- Fine and large manipulative skills when building and hand eye coordination.
- Personal, social and emotional- Making relationships, social skills such as sharing and turn taking. Working towards the same goal and fun and enjoyment.
- Mathematics- Learning about shapes, space, measurement and sizes, such as small, medium and large. Counting the bricks.
- Understanding of the world- Possible opportunity to learn about ice.
- Expressive arts and design- Engaged in role play, designing a castle and using their imagination. Developing resourcefulness and creativity.
- Substitute Princess' with cars, balls or any other toy your child is into. They will love rolling them down the ramps, learning about trajectory.
- Create a Frozen ice castle, by using a cardboard box and other items found from around the home.