Children love to read, and the characters that they meet in books can inspire them in their play.
We often see young children pretending to be pirates, princesses or evil super villains. Through their vast imagination they re-create the faraway lands that they read about in their books.
What if we could help to create these spaces, not just in their imaginations, but in their school yards too. With a little help from Hand Made Places’ playground equipment for schools, you can.
Whether it’s a forest, an ocean, or a little fairy kingdom, at Hand Made Places we have stacks of ideas to help you create the perfect playground for your little learners.
This article will look into how you can help to create playgrounds based upon your child’s favourite fantasy books…
So if you’re sitting comfortably, we will begin.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
To create the ultimate Alice in Wonderland themed playground we have to start at the beginning.
“Begin at the beginning”, the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
The book begins with Alice following the White Rabbit down the infamous rabbit hole.
Therefore, no Alice in Wonderland themed play area would be complete without its very own White Rabbit.
We have just the solution: a Hand Made Places ‘Rabbit Face.’
You can place a Rabbit Face Totem in any Alice themed playground, and it will look right at home. Why not get the totem post bespoke engraved with one of the most well-known quotes from the book:
“I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date”
This will enhance any play area, as well as making the theme instantly recognisable.
Next up, Alice finds herself in a room at the bottom of the rabbit hole, with a small door. The door is far too small for Alice to fit in. In order to shrink herself to fit through the door, she eats a cake which is labelled ‘Eat Me’.
This offers a great opportunity to encourage children to develop a list of alternative skills whilst engaging in play.
You could encourage children to bake cupcakes at home and bring them in to school.
You can even set a task to create the recipe as homework. Doing this will help to enhance literacy skills as well as teaching them how to follow instructions.
If pupils cannot make cupcakes at home you can always use the Hand Made Places Mud Kitchen to create ‘Mud Cakes’ which they can pretend to eat instead!
Following on from this you can imitate Alice changing size by getting crafty with household items. Craft flowers or bugs out of large card to create the illusion that the children are getting smaller. Just like in the book.
Finally the book ends with a less than pleasant encounter with the Queen of Hearts. You can re-create this scene with one of our play castles. Pupils can even decorate the castle by cutting out small paper hearts and sticking them on the walls.
Children can clamber away from the evil queen using traverse walls, pull ropes, slides or tunnels. Adding an element of physical play to this imagination based playground.
Setting the Scene.
On top of the perfect games and crafts for your play area, it is important that you set the scene.
Alice in Wonderland is set in a very unusual and colourful place, which you can replicate with Hand Made Places.
With Hand Made Places’ playground surfacing options you can choose an array of colours for the playground’s surfacing.
You can add planters with an array of different colourful flowers to help children imagine that they are in Wonderland.
Peter Pan is the great story about the boy who never grew up. The interesting settings and characters make it the perfect tale to base your playground on.
Neverland is a magical place which is filled with mermaids, fairies, pirates and lost boys. The place itself is based on a child’s imagination so re-creating with a little help from Hand Made Places, shouldn’t be hard at all.
When you think of Peter Pan, you think of pirates. Captain Hook in particular. So no ‘Neverland’ themed play space would not be complete without a pirate ship.
At Hand Made Places we have an array of play boats and ships which are tailored towards imaginative play.
Children will enjoy climbing the rigging, sliding down the fireman’s pole and slipping into the water below all to escape the dreaded pirates. This then adds an element of physical play to the imaginative playground. Making it both fun and beneficial for pupils health.
Just to top it off why not also add in a crocodile play sculpture just to taunt Captain Hook!
“Tick Tock, Tick Tock, Tick Tock”
You could even further enhance this play area by also adding outdoor musical instruments. Children can play the infamous ‘Never Smile at a Crocodile’ tune which, when performed, will help to boost confidence as well as helping to improve communication and listening skills.
Click here to download the lyrics, you can print them off for your class to perform.
Children can also recreate Tinkerbelle’s fairy village by getting a little crafty with household items.
You can create small fairy houses out of toilet or kitchen roll tubes and coloured cupcake cases, take a look below to find out how:
Click here to download these instructions so that you can make them in class!
Placing these little houses in multiple clusters will allow for children to replicate the fairy villages which lie in the forests of Neverland. Children could also, (with permission and help from teachers and parents) plant flowers around their fairy houses. This will add to the aesthetic.
On top of this encouraging the children to get involved in gardening will also help to improve their mental well-being. See all of the many benefits which come from gardening by reading our blog.
Children can also create ancient American-Indian head dresses out of card and feathers to wear in this area of the playground. Adding that extra element of fun to this extremely exciting playground.
Setting the Scene.
Your Peter Pan themed play area can be split into three separate sections and this can be mapped out with an array of different options.
You could have three different colour playground surface options for each section. This would help to set the scene as well as distinguish between the different areas. Having a blue section for the ocean, a green section for the forest and then a yellow section for the Indian village area.
Alternatively to this you could have a bespoke engraved Archway which stated which area they were in:
“The Jolly Roger” “The Lost Boys Hideaway” “Tiger Lily’s Camp”
However you decide to do it, children will love playing in this brilliant themed play area.
Getting creative with play is great for younger children. Though their imaginations are vast, a little help from some props will go a long way. By basing your play area on a book, you will also help to encourage a lifetime love of literature.
Book themed playgrounds such as the ones outlined above, are perfect for encouraging physical play, imaginative play as well as learning through play. Making them perfect for school or nursery playgrounds.