Keeping an Ideas Book | Day 23 – 30 Days to Transform Your Play

30 Days to Transform Your Play {An Everyday Story}Day 23 | 30 Days to Transform Your Play

Today we are talking about something very simple but something which can really help to make your child’s thoughts, plans and ideas more visible; an Ideas Book.

30 DAYS TO TRANSFORM YOUR PLAYAn Ideas Book is different to keeping a diary. It is a book for sketching, planning and dreaming. It is a book for making lists, writing questions, documenting interesting findings and creating stories.

How often does your child come up with a great idea but it’s just not something you can work on at the moment? If you’re anything like here, lots! This is where the ideas book comes in.

How to Use an Ideas Book:

An ideas book is used to document your child’s thoughts, ideas and plans. This might include:

  • designs for machines or inventions
  • ideas for a short story or stage show
  • patterns and designs for new clothes, dolls clothes, costumes
  • ideas for new magic tricks for a magic show
  • designs for a new cityscape
  • designs for improved vehicles; spaceships, aeroplanes, submarines..
  • garden designs for a new fairy garden, vegetable garden or gnomes’ home
  • … the possibilities are limited only by your child’s imagination

Drawing in the Morning - An Everyday Story

When your child has a question…

Ask them what they think.

If it’s a question about how something works, ask them to first draw what they think. Your child can then use these drawings later to refine their ideas.

If it’s an idea for an invention or a machine your child can:

  • draw a design of their idea
  • write any questions that might have
  • make a list of materials they might need – or draw pictures if they are pre-writers

If it’s an idea for a story or stage show your child can:

  • design costumes
  • design sets
  • create characters
  • glue in fabric scraps for future costumes
  • draw a story board

Drawing power lines - An Everyday Story

Drawing buildings of all shapes and sizes

Maybe they found an interesting feather on a walk, or saw an interesting building or tree which they wanted to know more about. They could:

  • draw a picture from memory labelling any details they remember
  • glue in a photo they might have taken
  • tape in the small interesting treasure they found

drawing - An Everyday Story toddler drawing - An Everyday Story

All these wonderful plans and ideas that your child has can be investigated with an Ideas Book. They are documenting their thoughts and in keeping the book readily accessible, we are validating their ideas and encouraging them to pursue them more deeply; to wonder, to plan, to design and test, and to find answers.

An Ideas Book is also hugely beneficial to you, as a parent. Together, Jack and I use his ideas book to find books at the library, look up videos on Youtube, collect recyclables for inventions; it’s all there documented already in his own words and drawings.

Making Learning Visible through drawing - An Everyday Story Drawing circuits from An Everyday StoryTask:

  • Pick up a visual diary for your child – I prefer A4 size (K-mart has some for about $4 each – Creativ brand with a black cover)
  • Keep it in the playroom with some writing materials – make it visible and on hand
  • Introduce it to your child as their special ideas book – different to their regular sketchbooks
  • Encourage your child to draw their ideas and thoughts when they ask questions
  • Reflect on their drawings and use that information to guide you when you are planning activities, explorations or field trips

Ok. So who is off to buy an Ideas Book tomorrow?

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If you missed a post, here’s the rest of the series.

Don’t forget to check out Rachel’s posts on Racheous – Lovable Learning

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10 comments on “Keeping an Ideas Book | Day 23 – 30 Days to Transform Your Play”

  1. Amy

    I absolutely love this! Hopefully I can source one of these locally and introduce it to my son. I’m sure this will be a great source of eliminating frustration when he has an idea for an invention, but it’s just not practical to follow through. The photos of your children using them are wonderful!

      • Amy

        Oh Kate that is so thoughtful of you! I might pick something up from the local newsagent for now. We only live 110km from a town with kmart so I’ll definitely pick up a couple next time we make the trip.

    • Kate

      Sarah’s had hers for about six months although has only started drawing pictures in the last couple of months. Jack was around three as well but he really started using it a lot when he was closer to four.

      How old are your little ones?

      • kayleachudasama

        He is only 2 and a half. Since i introduced fine tip pens he has started making marks, mainly swirls and then he draws dots and calls them eyes. I will get him a beautiful book for Christmas as he will be 3 in January.

  2. JL

    Hi! I wanted to say I love your ideas. I, too, am a former teacher, currently at home with my 3-and 1-year-old sons. I love the pictures of the children engaged in the ideas books, using the loose parts, etc. (just got back from a trip to Home Depot to get some materials for our sandbox!)

    I’m still trying to figure out how I can set things up, including the kinds of items and collections you have showcased this month, so that he’s got things to work with, but not so much he (my 3 y.o.) is overwhelmed (and the house gets full of small bits). Trying to make the play space and materials appealing, and rotating often.

    Sometimes I’m seeing him wandering around the kitchen, aimlessly opening doors or what have you, and I wonder what I can set up for him, so I look up my list of ideas– busy bag, salt tray, basket of rocks with play-doh… but it seems like I’m picking out of the air.

    My son often starts digging in to whatever I’ve made available, and 2 minutes later, says “all done” and then rolls around on the couch. I’ve been watching to see what his interests are, which currently involve toy cars and piling his stuffed buddies on the couch. He likes books, too. Nothing I’ve done so far seems to spark his interest in terms of drawing, art, playdoh, etc. He doesn’t enjoy messy play. Being a teacher, I should know what to do here, but I’m at a bit of a loss.

    I feel like I’m creating a lot of work for myself and something is missing, in that he is quickly done with anything I lay out. He doesn’t complain, but I’d love to see him passionate about what he’s playing with. Wondering if you have any general tips? If so, I’d love to hear them!

    Thanks again for an inspiring series on transforming play!

    • Alisa

      JL Maybe expand on the toy car play first. Try adding trucks that can be loaded and unloaded, a dump truck, or one with a tray or trailer. Have regular building blocks to start for ‘loads’ my son has even used his tip truck to put washing away.(He was given a large truck made from recycled plastic when 18mths and at 5 still uses it) He also does not like ‘messy play’ but his sister, younger, does. He might like drawing as it is clean, or simple add water to paint paints, not flowing paints that needs cleaning up. Hope that helps a little, I only just started reading this site.

  3. heather

    this is such a wonderful idea… and so valuable for storing so many of those ideas that i hear one minute and then we get to the library, or have some time to explore… and can’t remember what it was! thanks for the inspiration 🙂

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