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I had some craft supplies lying around and decided to make a 3D playscape with the help of my 3 year old project manager, Eli.

First, I drew a road on some green posterboard and cut out a small pond out of blue posterboard. I asked him where the roads and pond should go, so he could be included at his own skill level.

Next I reminded him how to use the Elmer’s glue, since it had been awhile. Then while he was gluing the pond onto the posterboard, I cut out some foam trees, basket of apples, fish, volcano, and lava. I showed Eli how to glue apples on the tree and how the apples could fall from the tree and collect at the bottom of the tree. He glued a few on himself, then decided where to glue the trees. I glued the fish onto the pond while he glued lava on the volcano. Then we fed apples to baby chimpanzee and a horse 🙂

The shapes were a combination of our ideas. As we got out animals and dinosaurs and played, I also got the idea to make a stop sign, traffic light, and tiny pizza with toppings. Eli asked for a couple of balloons so I made those too.

I got out a box of collage materials and we continue to glue things down on the poster. We glued decorative rocks and a random foam block by the pond. Eli started playing with some of the items creatively; he collected pompoms and had a dump truck dump them in various spots. A dinosaur drank from the pond and a turtle swam nearby. We put baby ducks in the pond and a dinosaur skeleton near the volcano. Kermit drove a motorcycle with Batman in his Batmobile. So all was right in the universe!

As we played, we discussed some of the first letter sounds of words as I wrote them on the poster. We talked about how to spell “stop” and “go” since those are words my son was already familiar with and he was interested in reviewing them.

My son’s biggest interests are animals and dinosaurs, but you could adapt this 3D homemade playscape idea for any toys and materials you have lying around.