One of the things that I love about reading books with BookBairn is that I can see that books inspire her play. When she puts her dolly i...

Kids Knead Play

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 BookBairn 4 Comments

One of the things that I love about reading books with BookBairn is that I can see that books inspire her play. When she puts her dolly in the pram she is "off to the library, mummy"; when she tucks her toys up in bed she reads them a story; she gathers all her Peppa figures around and plays 'Bookbug', singing the songs from our library sessions. She also uses the stories to inspire her play. I've seen her make Nibbles the book monster eat her books, she uses her finger puppets to act out fairytale stories, she feeds the very hungry caterpillar lots of food from her play kitchen.

But one of the most exciting child-led book-inspired plays that I have seen is when BookBairn opened her 'Kids Knead Play' box. before I tell you about her awesome play I should say that I deliberately ordered a box based around BookBairn's favourite book (yes, she has declared it her favourite!), 'Lost and Found' by Oliver Jeffers. She's knows this story off by heart: we read the book regularly, we listen to the audiobook in the car on every journey and she has recently become fascinated by the short film too. So I knew she would be confident and comfortable with the story to be able to really use it as a basis for her play. (If you haven't read this story yet you have too! - I'll link back to a very old post so you can see our love of Oliver Jeffers is long-lasting but I probably need to do an update too!)

When BookBairn opened the box she really enjoyed getting the play doh out and exploring the three different colours and the smells. She quickly realised that this was no regular play dough box: it's "Penguin and the Boy play dough, Mummy!" and she put the characters straight into the little boat to sail off to Antartica. She loved seeing all the different loose parts that would support her character play. She wanted to roll out the dough to make the white snowy lands of Antarctica and the blue into the sea with "waves as big as mountains" (her favourite quote from the book).

She quickly moved on to use the straws to make a castle for the penguin and pushed the buttons into the white dough to make stepping stones. I have never really seen her play like this with play dough before - perhaps it's because I left her to play without trying to lead  her. I sometimes can't help myself! But it was so lovely to see her using her imagination. We got lots of other little bits including an umbrella shaped cutter which we used with the red dough to make a boat for the penguin to try to find the boy and re-shaped the white dough into an iceberg that they would be sailing around.

Not only was her play much more creative than I had seen it before it was also wonderful to here her using all the rich vocabulary that she had picked up from the story! She made the characters talk to each other, she explained and described all the things that she was building and creating. Such rich and valuable play!

If your child has a favourite book that you want to extend into their play 'Kids Knead Play' make custom boxes to suit your child's interest in a variety of sizes and if your bairn isn't really a huge book fan, they also make cools boxes on lots of other kid-friendly themes like dinosaurs, jungle, construction sites and or older kids they have great letter and number boxes too.

And some wonderful news is that we are collaborating with them to do a giveaway!

**GIVEAWAY** I've chosen five of our favourite books and if you are chosen to be the lucky winner, you can choose a book and Kids Knead Play will create a box for you on the theme of that book and we will send you a copy of the book! Pop over to our Instagram or on Kids Knead Play's Instagram (or why not enter on both) and simply tell us which book you would choose! **GIVEAWAY**

Happy book-based play and reading!
Mummy, BookBairn and Kids Knead Play!

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DISCLAIMER: I had bought a Kids Knead Play Box in the past for BookBairn (an Easter themed one) and I reached out to ask if they wanted to work with us by sending us a box for review and working together on the giveaway above. We did receive this box free for review but I will definitely be buying from them again! It's worth every penny to see that awesome playspiration!


  1. BookBairn couldn’t wait to show me this. “Shall we play play dough, Papa. Look it’s the Penguin and the Boy”. I really think the author should consider renaming his book.

    1. I agree! Or maybe he could write 'the penguin and the girl'?

  2. What a gorgeous idea. We love books and play dough. I love Oliver Jeffers books. This set is so cute

    1. He writes and illustrates incredibly inspiring books!And yes this play dough was super fun!