pretend play

Turtle World

So we recently created another animal playscape. Babs has been really into learning about turtles. We used the Rubbermaid under the bed containers for easy clean up. I dug through the small plastic animals we bought from Target last year and found some turtles. I love the mini Terra Animals by Battat. They have a great variety and I can make TONS of animal playscape with them. We picked up some shells, and green, black, and white sand from the Dollar tree to add some color. I used a smaller container to put some water in. Add some blue food coloring and gems and you have an ocean! 

What originally sparked her interest in turtles was the Zoobies book we got in the mail. 

It talks about different types of turtles and their life cycle. She was really interested in how they come to the beach to dig a nest in the sand for their eggs. I had to get creative with the eggs. I cut the tips of of some Q-tips and we used them for the eggs in the turtle world. Babs had tons of fun and was able to apply what she had learned to her play.

After playing with the turtle world for a while we also watched A Turtle’s Tale from Stepping Stones Entertainment. They make great family friendly movies for all ages.

Here are the  materials you will need to make your own turtle world. Feel freebie get creative and add some of your own ideas! 

Small plastic turtle figurines

Food coloring

Water in a shallow container




A book about turtles from your local library (optional)

pretend play

Dollar Store Dress Up

She was to busy putting out fires for a picture in her fireman hat so I had to settle with cowgirl, beads and all!

Dress up can keep kids entertained for hours and it doesn’t have to be elaborate! Since it is around Halloween time the Dollar Tree by our house has some simple dress up items that has inspired creativity in Babs I didn’t even know she had yet! A simple plastic fireman helmet sparked discussion about what firefighter does as well as encouraged her to use some toys or household items in different ways. She put on the hat and away she went! She used a mixing spoon for a hose and pretended the couch was on fire. She ran around the house making fire engine noises, it was great! Ahhh….to be a kid again! I think I see a cardboard box fire truck in our future creations. 🙂 She has been so into it that we just started reading the book Firefighter Ted by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre. Dress up is the most fun for us when follow Babs lead. If you find anything cool and cheap while you are shopping give me a heads up!

pretend play

Safari Anmial Playscape

Babs recently received some safari animals for her 2nd birthday. We decided to make what I call an animal playscape. She is always creating “homes” for her animals using WP_20150907_18_13_27_Problocks, pillows, cups….pretty much anything she can get her hands on. I love her creativity! However, I noticed she tended to just have the animals hide in their “home” and then she would move on to a different activity. I wanted to use a container that had a lid so we could use it for multiple days without our cat destroying it. So I ended up buying one of those bins used for under the bed storage. It worked perfectly! We then spent some time outside collecting different items from the yard. Babs thought this was cool. It was like a backyard scavenger hunt! I gathered some sand from the sand box and we used that as the ground. To make the lake we used a Frisbee, however, any shallow dish that will hold water would work great. We made the cave using a Solo cup and some rocks from the yard.

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We played with it together for about 45 minutes!

She loved it….and I loved it because we could just put the lid on and clean up was done! This activity is a great way to encourage more detailed pretend play. She has continued to play with it independently for about two weeks now.  By independently I mean I am in the same room for supervision but usually doing one of the many household chores that need to get done on a daily basis. Probably folding laundry…..ughh. Hope your little one’s like this activity as much as we did!

Materials Needed

Under the bed storage bin

Toy animals…safari, farm, anything will work

Plastic cup

Frisbee or shallow dish

Natural materials from the backyard

  • Sand or dirt
  • leaves
  • rocks
  • sticks
  • acorns
  • grass
  • pretty much anything else you can think of!