Do you have a child that wants to read the same stories over and over again or sings certain songs non-stop? I do, and it drives me insane. Old Macdonald has a Farm is the latest offender in our house (and car). Someone needs to turn that noisy tractor around and I found the thing to do just that …
We’ve all been there: your toddler keeps throwing the same book at you and you reluctantly agree. You feel bad because you know he only wants to be close to you and really, really loves that story. It’s only a story, it shouldn’t irritate you that much. Yet, you would rather eat nails than force the words you know by heart out again, and again. And again.
Now, let me tell you there is hope. There are ways to make this “phase” more bearable for everyone. Because if you have more than one child I know you know it goes from bad to worse real quick!
There are different tricks I have up my sleeve for when healthy story or song obsessions like these emerge. And I’ll happily share.
Old Macdonald had a Farm Small World
The trick is to give them ways to get it out of their system.
When reading the book on repeat is getting too much for everyone, it’s time to switch things up. And in our home, that means we start setting up small worlds.
Together we started constructing old Macdonald’s farm.
I have this play mat we often use for small world play and which was the perfect backdrop for our story that day. Fear not, you can easily use some simple coloured fabric scraps, play silks, towels, blankets or even clothes as improvised play mats.
Once the scene is set, you can let your child randomly plonk things down and the fun can begin.
It was a lot of fun to let the kids discover what kind of animals were living on this old Macdonald’s farm. It was also a fun game to play hide and seek with some of the animals.
At some stage a few dinosaurs even made it into the paddock and the ducks got banished by the cow. Mrs Macdonald had some trouble keeping the sheep together and the spider gave the horse a huge fright. Good times.
Our Old Macdonald had a Farm small world invited my 2 year old to completely lose himself in his favourite song. No stones were left unturned in his exploration!
The old Macdonald small world worked wonders in learning my children that there is more to a story than just the song or the book. The open ended nature of small world play lets them expand on the story, identify with it or take it to a whole other level.
There are lots of other activities that will help children explore stories through creative stories. I bundled all of my popular resources in this article ” 12 Ways to Tell a Story “, with over 60 book activity ideas.
And if you discover small world play is your thing, be sure to have a look at all the small worlds we made over the years here.
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