While our boys have a lot of different things to play with…we have dolls, tea sets, cooking equipment, books, puzzles…they seem to very naturally gravitate towards CARS. These chaps LOVE their vehicles and they have been going through different phases. When the twins were a little over 2 they started asking us to name every car they saw till, in a few weeks they could name (and correctly identify) probably a lot more than I can. Living on the car corridor was a plus.
Then began the fascination with construction vehicles…diggers, dumpers, cement mixers. We had an ever growing collection of cars. At that point I saw a really nice car play mat with roads and stores and what not on it and decided to paint one for the boys. It was (and continues to be) a hit with my little fellows and they have spent many hours taking their cars all over the roads on the mat. They found it especially fun because it was an attempt to make it a map of the neighbourhood we lived in…all the parks and stores they knew…the police ground, the fire brigade, etc. (https://myfourboysandme.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/a-canvas-for-cars/)
Now that their dad works with a company that makes agricultural machines, it is only to be expected that tractors and harvesters are the new craze in our home. Indulgent dad picks up a die cast model for them on each trip and so over the last year they have accumulated a decent number of farm machines and last week Sid expressed that it would be a wonderful idea to do a ‘tractor mat’. The tractors are too big for our regular car mat and i guess it made sense. So we got to work. We decided what we wanted on it and then i painted a large canvas. We have fields roads, a pond, fields with some vegetables/crops, coconut fibre that we pretend is hay, a house/barn (work in progress) and we have put some animals on it too. (most props are movable and the canvas can get rolled up and put away. It’s not complete and we still need to do pens and barns, etc. but the boys are really enjoying it. They have detailed conversations, they are happy to play together or by themselves, they are using the right equipment for the right processes and it is really really fun to watch. I like how the vocab is getting integrated into their play as Nish lift ‘bales of hay’ and Sid correctly talks about what the harvester does. They even added a small toy plane into their box and have decided it is a Crop Duster.
Sure it took several hours to work on it and there is a lot more to be done…but it was well worth it to watch them use it and play with/on it. It is nearly 5 feet x 3.5 feet so it’s pretty large and so they can really move around on it!