04 • 6 AUGUST 2006
Editorial: Encouraging imaginative play
2. Newspaper pirate hat
3. Colourful pretty polly
4. Fabulous chest for secret treasures
5. More pirate ideas
|1. Editorial: Encouraging
Ahoy there and welcome to Kids Craft Weekly!
This week's 'pirate' theme is one that lends itself to imaginative and
I am a big believer in giving kids as many opportunities as possible to
use their imagination. Recently I was thrilled to come across a
brilliant idea to encourage pretend play.
It's not a new idea but it was new to me - it's called a 'prop box'.
A prop box is a box that contains small toys, clothing and household
items that are used to enrich pretend play. Each box is grouped
together by a particular theme and rotated every so often to keep
things interesting. Where possible, prop boxes should contain 'real'
items (a real phone rather than a
toy phone) as kids can always learn
more from actual items than they can from replicas.
It's also a good idea to include literacy materials (pencils, paper,
books) so that your little one can pretend to read and write and can
practice associating literacy/numeracy activities in different
I have found prop boxes to be a really effective way to instigate
imaginative play and they're quite easy to put together.
For example, a 'pirate' prop box might contain:
• a vest
• an eye patch
• a pair of gumboots
|• a bag of coins
• a pair of binoculars
• a treasure box
• a toy dog
• a paper scroll and pen
There's a good article about prop boxes
at Education World which makes some useful suggestions for those
putting one together for the first time. It also has some links to prop
Once you get into the swing of preparing prop boxes you'll never again
have to rack your brains for pretend play ideas.
I hope you have great fun with this week's activities. Please feel free
to get in touch and let me know how you got on.
Happy crafting and see you
a pirate hat
making paper hats as a kid? This simple hat is bound to get your little
pirates in the mood for some fun and games. We decorated our hats with
a crossbones stencil and colourful feathers but you could use whatever
you have on hand.
sheets of newspaper
black acrylic paint
small paint roller
(available from hardware shops or good art supply shops)
cardboard (thicker cardboard
will make a more reliable stencil)
A full page
spread from a broadsheet paper makes a large adult hat. A full page
spread from a tabloid paper will make a perfect sized hat for a young
child. If you need an in-between size, cut some length from two sides
of a broadsheet spread.
1. Turn the folded page horizontally, with the folded edge on the top.
Fold the two top corners down so that they meet in the centre forming
2. To make the brim, fold the top piece of paper from the bottom edge
up halfway to the body. Fold the same edge one more time so that it
overlaps the triangles.
3. Turn the hat over, and repeat the two folds on the opposite side.
Tuck in the paper at each end and fasten with a little sticky tape to
keep it all together.
4. Draw some crossbones on the centre of a piece of cardboard and cut
out the shape to form a stencil.
5. Paint over stencil using a tray of black acrylic paint and a small
roller. It's a good idea to have a number of things for your little one
to stencil or paint because trust me, you aren't going to be getting
that roller back any time soon!
6. When the paint is dry, have your little one stick some feathers on
for good measure. When it's done, don hat and retire to pirate ship,
shouting 'shiver me timbers' at the top of your voice!
MAKE: a pretty polly
has fallen in love with pretty polly - even Sunday
spaniel) who keeps trying to pull the colourful feathers out!
This activity is great fun to do but make sure you keep an eye out for
one large and one medium-sized foam ball (available from
craft supply shops)
some colourful feathers
acrylic paint and paintbrush
googly eyes or buttons
kids pvc glue
two wooden skewers
a chunk of polystyrene
requires waiting for paint to dry! If you don't want your little one to
go crazy with impatience I recommend that you start it one afternoon,
and finish it the following morning.
1. Stick a wooden skewer into each of the balls and then poke the other
end into a chunk of polystyrene. Once they're stable, paint the balls
with acrylic paint.
2. Once the paint is dry, cut one of the wooden skewers into small
stakes, about two inches in length. Use two of these stakes to attach
the head to the body. Use a folded pipecleaner to form a parrot beak
and insert ends into the head. Then add googly eyes - If you don't have
any you can use buttons.
3. Use the other wooden skewer to poke holes (about half an inch deep)
into the body and insert feathers into each of the holes. Older kids
will be able to use the skewer and the feathers, younger ones will have
to settle for the feathers. To finish off, form some feet from
pipecleaners and stick into the body.
4. Sit polly on a friendly shoulder and offer plenty of crackers!
a fabulous chest for secret treasures
unwritten rule around these parts that one can never have too many
fancy boxes! I have a similar rule involving chocolate biscuits but I
don't think I'll go into that right now except to say that a secret
stash of chocolate biscuits might fit very nicely into an adult sized
treasure chest – just make sure you keep it up high.
You will need
good cardboard box with a lid
paint and paint brush (or roller)
items for decorating
The fabulousness of your treasure chest is limited only by
imagination. We painted our box black using a roller (after we finished
making the pirate hats) and used sequins, buttons, baubles,
strings and coloured pasta to decorate.
make a pirate ship from a good sized box
make an eye patch from a
piece of black card and a length of elastic
make a treasure map
go on a treasure hunt
put together a pirate prop
box (see editorial)
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