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Pre-Writers Club: Toy Workshop

What you need:

If your child is old enough to remember Christmas this toy workshop role play will build on their own experiences. At school, we often set up activities linked to events after they have happened. So the toy workshop role play would be a great activity to do after Christmas Day - perfect for that time between Boxing Day and New Year.

To set up the toy workshop, I used some Christmas fabric, a sack, and some elasticated ribbon and gift tags to create a wrapping station. I added a Father Christmas hat and an elf hat so that we could pretend to be different characters.

The reusable gift tags were really easy to make using cardboard and parcel tape. See the post 'Wrapping Presents' for more information. I also set up a shelf with toys that we could pick for different children and wrap up. The previous role play had been a cafe and while I was packing it away Benji insisted we kept out tea and biscuits for Father Christmas. So we set up a tea break station too.

I also added a notebook and pen which we pretended was the nice list. Benji took his role as Father Christmas very seriously. After his drink and biscuits he settled down to have a look at the list. He made a note of the children and the present that they asked for. This just looked like scribbles in the books but he was giving meaning to his marks. I pretended to be an elf and he told me which presents to wrap.

He also selected toys from the workshop and wrapped them up. He wrote squiggles on the gift tags as he said the name of the person who the gift was for.

When all the presents were ready and loaded on the sleigh (his bed!) he went to deliver them.

The children in this house had left a snack for Father Christmas and the reindeer!

He filled the stockings, left presents under the tree and shared the snacks with the reindeer.

He played this for ages. Sometimes he was the little boy that fell asleep and got to open the presents when he woke up on Christmas morning and sometimes he was an elf, busy making and wrapping toys.

He really enjoyed this role play and so did his 6 year old sister. We have left it set up so we can enjoy it in the run up to Christmas and over the holidays. After Christmas I will pack the props away with the decorations so that we can use them again next year.


Mark Making - Introducing elements of mark making and writing through play helps to develop their physical skills, creative skills and imagination. It provides a stepping stone into writing.


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