Hairy Maclary was one of Noa’s first favourite books. We read it again and again and again. There’s something about this little dog, his friends and his adventures that captures the hearts of little ones. And to be honest, that little scruffy dog has grown on me too over the years.
I have been playing with this idea for a Hairy Maclary small world for a while. When Still Playing School invited me to take part in the Small World A to Z series, I knew it was time to stop procrastinating. I did a little brainstorming, gathered some materials and went to work.
Have a look to see what we came up with and don’t forget to grab your free printable and hand drawn colouring pages so you can easily set up your own Hairy Maclary small world at home.
How to Set Up a Hairy Maclary Small World
The first thing I did was figuring out a way to create an ‘easy movable’ Hairy Maclary and friends. I decided on copying a page from one of the books, cut out the dogs, glue them onto cereal box cardboard, and glue that to about 1/3 of a toilet paper roll. Et voilà, sweet, simple and easily manageable for little hands.
The next thing I did was make drawings of all the houses and major buildings or landmarks I could find in the Hairy Maclary books we have. Noa and I spent the afternoon colouring them in, even though in the end I was left to do most of the work! Which made me think it might be easier to just make a colour copy of whatever you want to use.
We taped the coloured in houses on random cardboard boxes we had in our pantry. We used painter’s tape to stick them on, which kind of created an empty canvas around the rest of the box for children to draw on.
All of this was a fair bit of work, but we did enjoy spending time together working on a project over a couple of days. The anticipation sure was building!
You can find the free printable and colouring pages here:
All copyrights belong to the talented Lynley Dodd. The printables you find here are for personal use only. We’re very grateful to Lynley Dodd for letting us have a play in Hairy Maclary’s world!
A quick little disclaimer: these colouring pages are my own copied drawing from the books: they are not perfect, nor were they intended to be. You can use these as colouring pages, drawing prompts, and whatever you can come up with to give your own creative spin to your interpretation of a Hairy Maclary small world.
Once we had finished our preparations, the actual small world set up could begin. This is where I like to get creative.
I always set a small world up in layers: I think about what we could use as ground, buildings, trees, flowers, and so on. Each time I add another layer of different materials to the scene. When I’m working together with my daughter, I I invite her to think along with me. I ask her what else she thinks we might need and I ask her opinions and ideas about the materials we should use.
In this case we decided to put simple drawing paper on the table so we could draw our own town.
We ended up painting the street and side walk with water paint and we taped some green paper on for the park.
Blue tissue paper served as a little pond and for some reason it needed lots of rocks, and gems, and a duck of course.
There’s this book where Hairy Maclary and his friends make a terrible mess of the park and we felt like we needed a nice park for de dogs (and cats) to have a play around in.
We used a bunch of crochet flowers for bushes (you could make simple pompoms instead) and buttons for flowers.
I duct taped a little bit of cut up toilet paper roll to make a rubbish bin since we know Hairy Maclary likes to have a look in there.
We used our cardboard trees to bring some green to the town.
And finally we moved in a few of our Playmobil people, some cars and … a couple of cats. No Hairy Maclary story is complete without a cat!
Create your own Small World Fun!
This small world is a bit of a random collection of materials, as small worlds should be! You can use anything you like! So feel free to go on a little treasure hunt throughout your home to see what you could use.
If your older children are interested you could (and I recommend you try) leave the entire set up to them. Younger children might need some more help of ‘scaffolding’ in their play. And for toddlers you’d want to keep it as simple as possible.
My daughter is almost 5 and she thoroughly enjoys the little details of small worlds. My 2 year old son would only be interested in tearing it all apart a this stage … true story! All children go through ages and stages with different interests. Have a think about where your child is at and how you could adjust a small world to suit them. (You can read more about small world play, it’s benefits and how to start in this beginner’s guide.)
I hope that our little project inspired you somewhat today! Should you want to see more small worlds we’ve created, have a look here.
And for ongoing inspiration, be sure to follow my Small Worlds board on Pinterest!
Thank you so much for your time today, I hope to see you again next week,
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