I love to incorporate a new pretend play space or reading area into our themes. In the past we’ve made cardboard jeeps to learn about Africa, a barn to learn about the farm, and a tent rain forest to learn about South America. When I saw this cave of stars from Play At Home Mom LLC and the fibre optic sensory cave from The Imagination Tree I knew I could have a little fun putting something together for our night sky theme.
Somehow I forgot to save most of our cardboard from Christmas, so I had to come up with another idea. We have a black card table, so I decided that would work well.
I placed a black blanket on the floor and draped a black sheet across the top of the table. At this point Tinker figured out what I was up to, and she was eager to get in there.
Honestly I could have left it at that. She LOVED the space already. She sat and read for a while. Then she figured out how to pull down the fourth side of the black sheet, and she started playing peek-a-boo. We also played “dark” and “light,” as she opened and closed the sheet. She loved it!
My husband and I waited until the girls went to bed to finish the rest of the reading nook so that they would be surprised when they woke up. We had a piece of leftover black car carpet from one of my husband’s recent projects, so we used that. Cardboard would also work well. I just tend to go with the materials we have on hand.
We poked holes through the carpet with a screwdriver. There may be a fancy tool that would have worked, but again we use what we have on hand.
Then we poked the lights through the holes. This part took the longest, but the whole project only took about 30 minutes. It was well worth it, just to see the look of awe on the girls’ faces.
The last step was securing the carpet to the top of the card table. I knew we would only be using this setup for about a week, so I didn’t want to do any gluing or anything that would be long term. Instead we decided to poke holes in the edges of the carpet and used twine to secure it around the table. We tied the four corners to the leg braces underneath the table. Then we poked holes in the middle of each side and looped the twine over the top of the table and all the way around to help prevent sagging. It worked well for our purposes, but I am sure many of you will know of an even better way to secure the carpet. Let me know if you think of something.
This was the first place Lovey went in the morning, and she read or played with her toys there many times throughout the week.
Actually all of the kids would sit in there together and read books or have tea parties. They particularly liked closing all sides so that it was nice and cozy in there under “the stars.”
Please do use caution with the materials you use for this project and supervise kids playing in any space that involves electricity. We talked a lot about real stars being hot, and this helped the kids remember not to touch the “stars” in our reading nook. We also didn’t leave the reading nook on all day. We turned it on for special play times when I could closely watch the kids.
Click the links below to see some of the books we enjoyed reading during our night sky theme.
Have you made any special play spaces for pretend play or reading?