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Peter Rabbit and Mr McGregor’s Garden – Small world/tuff tray idea

Peter Rabbit and Mr McGregor’s Garden – Small world/tuff tray idea

Our girl loves Peter Rabbit to the point that if we would let her, she would watch the movie on repeat all day long. Of course, she would……. I doubt there’s many of us who don’t have fond memories of the wonderful books written by Beatrix Potter. Therefore, a Peter Rabbit small world was the obvious choice on the next phase of our small world/tuff tray journey.

Most of the items in our Peter Rabbit inspired tuff tray can be easily sourced but we have used some specialist toys e.g. the Peter Rabbit garden playset and the Large Play Tree stump. The tree stump is available from www.smallecosteps.co.uk who have kindly sponsored this play activity and a review of this product can be found at the end of this activity. However, we have suggested alternatives if you do not wish to purchase said items.

Suggested equipment:

*Peter rabbit, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail toys – we used teddies

*Other characters either printed and placed on lollipop sticks or toys – We used a few characters from the Peter Rabbit Garden Playset and Tender Leaf woodland characters but we recommend you to use what you have in

*Toy house – We used one from Tildo

*Wooden fence – We built one from lollipop sticks and a trusty glue gun

*Mini watering can

*Mini wheelbarrow

*Food (either real or toy) – We used carrots, parsnips, radishes, new potatoes, baby plum tomatoes

*Toy man

*Lawnmower toy or tractor – technically there’s a red tractor in the Peter Rabbit film so we pushed our luck with that one!

*Blue glass beads or blue rice

*Container for beads or rice (optional)

*Blue sensory scarf (optional)

*Green, blue and pink cardboard

*Strips of thin scrap wood or you can buy thin lengths from any homeware store

*Compost

*Garden pebbles

*Green dyed pasta shapes (optional)

*Tree stump for burrow  – We used the ‘Large play tree stump’ from Small Eco Steps Of Chester (available online) or you can create one from card or decorative logs

*Twigs, pine cones, log plaques, flowers or any other suitable items for decoration

*Toy trees for decoration (optional)

*Pack of sunflower seeds and cress

*Mini plant pots

*Mini kids rakes and spades

*Optional: Place water near the burrow a small container filled with water to give Peter a bath after his escapades

Method:

  1. Use the wooden fence to divide the tuff tray (or which ever container you are using) into a third for the woodland and two thirds for Mr McGregor’s garden.
  2. In the woodland area, place down the green pieces of card and then place the tree stump on top. If you wish, you could add some dyed green pasta (prepared the night before by adding colouring to dry pasta and leaving out to re-dry). This will give the kids another item to scoop.
  3. Create a lake by adding blue glass beads, organza scarf or blue rice. Use cardboard to make a lily pad and use a glue gun to add a thin piece of painted wood to Mr Jeremy Fisher so it appears as though he is fishing for minnows.
  4. Add the toy house and near to this, add a ‘scarecrow’ which in this instance, is just two strips of wood glued together to make a cross on a base with Peter Rabbits jacket hanging from it. Alternatively, you could use a plant pot, glue lollipop sticks to the plant pot and glue a printed cut out of Peters jacket onto the sticks.
  1. In front of the house, we made a vegetable patch by gluing the scrap pieces of wood into a rectangle. We added kitchen towel underneath just because tuff trays are uneven and it stopped the compost from seeping out. Fill the vegetable patch with compost and then fill the surrounding area of the tuff tray with garden pebbles, leaving a small strip free to place some plant pots and seeds.
  2. Cut the tops off parsnips and carrots and add these to the compost vegetable patch. Add other vegetables such as potatoes and radishes.
  3. Decorate the garden by adding some tomatoes, wheelbarrow, ‘lawnmower’, ‘Mr McGregor’, some flowers or grass from the garden, twigs, log plaques etc. We ‘lent’ the kids our sunflowers which was a big mistake as the kids turned them into jedi swords…… no seriously!
  4. Check your characters are distributed throughout the tuff. Along the side of the tuff, have the rakes, spade and seeds. The kids will love raking the soil and pasta and will really enjoy planting their own sunflower seeds. The children loved using the characters to make their own stories. They have such vivid imaginations.

Suggested activities to extend play.

  1. Design a menu using the vegetables in Mr McGregor’s garden. Bonus points if you can convince him NOT to eat Rabbit Pie!
  2. Use three toilet roll inserts to make a bunny head template. Paint the edge and apply this to card so you see a bunny outline. You could then use this to create a scene from the books or film.
  3. Design a map for Peter which outlines Mr McGregors garden and all of the potential escape routes so Peter no longer gets trapped in the watering can.
  4. Plant some seeds e.g. sunflowers or sweet peas.
  5. Paint your feet to make bunny cards.
  6. Dig for numbers printed on carrots.
  7. Peter Rabbit golf – get an old shoe box and other card to make a bunny head and ears. Cut an arch out for the mouth and get some colourful balls. The kids can either kick the balls into the ‘mouth’ or treat the scene as mini golf.

Product review

We were kindly asked to put the Large Play Tree Stump to the test thanks to Small Eco Steps Of Chester. The play tree stump was the perfect addition to our Peter Rabbit inspired tuff tray. The children played with this a lot in all sorts of different ways.

 

Because the stump is hollow with lots of nooks and crannies, the children were able to hide the animals and played hide and seek (as we expected they would) but then they decided to throw all of the items of food into the stump and pretend the animals like the hedgehog were storing food for hibernation…… clever and a great way in to discuss animal behaviour.

 

The stump encouraged lots of open ended imaginative play and after storing squashed and squished food, cleaned up really well. The trunk is hard wearing as its made out of a stone and resin mix, and it is designed with both indoor and outdoor play in mind. The toy is versatile as it can be used for a number of creative play scenes e.g fairies, woodland animals, and is great for other magical fantasty adventures. It is safe to be played with by children of all ages but due to it being used for imaginary play, the item is recommended for use by children aged 3 years up.

 

There weren’t really any negatives as the trunk was a good size to accommodate all of the animals measuring 250 x 250 x 180mm but if we were being really REALLY fussy, we would say that the manufacturer could try to make sure that some of the interior resin didn’t sometimes appear externally but the kids didn’t notice and we are being really critical here to provide you with an unbiased review.

 

So to conclude, all of these points make the large play tree stump a great addition to any childs open ended toy collection.

 

To purchase this item, please visit https://www.smallecosteps.co.uk/products/large-play-tree-stump?_pos=1&_sid=6c210b505&_ss=r

Don't forget....

Join our sponsors facebook page and post an image of your little one enjoying any pet related play scene to be in with the chance of winning £5 off your next order at Small Eco Steps Of Chester 

Additional information and terms and conditions:

*Please note that some items pose a choking risk for babies so if your child does have younger siblings, you may wish to substitute some items.

*This Peter Rabbit inspired tuff tray is kindly sponsored by Small Eco Steps of Chester who can post their items throughout the UK. Some of their items such as the wooden trees and tree stump are available for purchase online.

*We have used other items from a number of different retailers and we are always at the end of an email if you wish to ask us where we purchased the other items from.

*We asked another parent around to help us write our product review to ensure that the review is an honest and objective representation of the item.

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