I mentioned in the previous post that we were going to watch the 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz this weekend. Well, the kids LOVED it! I mean really really loved it. I thought we could try hacking together some sort of play set from the stuff we already have around the house, so that they can play make believe in their own little land of Oz.
You've probably noticed from some of our older posts like the Train table, the mermaid kingdom, dinosaur island, pixie hollow and more recently Care-a-lot, that my children are very much into making little worlds for their toys to play in. I'm all for encouraging this, because it makes for some very very cheap toys, and I think they get a lot of empowerment from making their own play things. It's nice that their first instinct is to want to build a specific place, rather than find out if there is one that could be bought. It might seem like a lot of work to facilitate this sort of project, but in reality it's pretty easy to just hack together stuff that you have around the place anyway. Sometimes you just have to think sideways to pull it off.
This time we started with making the characters for the story. The first ones we made were the easiest. The tin man was a playmobile dude, coloured with silver sharpie and with a metal frosting nozle glued to his head.
Three of the characters were made by altering Polly Pocket dolls. My kids love Polly Pocket dolls, and I have to admit they are quite cute despite the ridonkulous Alley McBeale head to body proportions. I hate the fiddly rubber clothing though! and who the heck owns rubber pajamas anyway!?! So it was somewhat of a relief when my mother inlaw bought the girls these strange mix and match Polly Pockets for Christmas, that you can snap together predressed body parts with. Much easier for them to play with at this age, although I do still get freaked out when I find rogue decapitated shrunken heads in odd places around the house. We were able to snap together the most suitable Polly Pocket bits to make Dorothy and the wicked witch. We coloured the witches skin green with a sharpie, and used a fine tipped black sharpie to colour her shoes and clothing. I loved that she had purple eyes and stripey tights already!
I made her a little felt hat and cape, because otherwise she looked like a halloween stripper witch.
Dorothy was another polly pocket, with a white top that we coloured the bodice in blue sharpie and made a little blue skirt for.
Her shoes and socks were originally white sneakers that we coloured with fine tipped sharpies, then the kids glued and dipped them in red glitter.
The scarecrow was hacked together from an old project that we'd done, which was making people out of beads. I thought the bead base would work really well for him, because he'd be floppy and hard to stand up like he is in the movie.
Glove fingers for trousers and wool tied for straw with a hot glued hat made from a scrap of spare material.
The cowardly lion was a bit of a challenge. I tried suggesting a plastic lion toy from the box of animals we have, but that was met with utter dissaproval and I was told that "No, he has to be a people-lion". How do you make a humanoid-lion toy on demand? If only we'd had some Thundercats handy! Instead we took the totally freaky approach of forcing Batman into a Hannibal Lecteresque kitty skin suit. Yes, Bruce Wayne is a closet furry.
Now this next picture... If this doesn't make you laugh then I don't think I can be your friend. I've been looking at him on and off for two days now and it still makes me giggle. I think it's the way he's standing. The kids think he is just the ticket though.
Glinda the good witch was a bit of an afterthought and was just another polly pocket with a carebear crown stuck on her. We've got a cute little Duplo scottie dog that makes a great Toto, but there's no photo of him, because he's gone missing.
So, we had the cast sorted. Now we needed the set. The kids wanted to make the yellow brick road out of playdough, so that was easy. I just made a batch of yellow playdough. I think the bit of this whole escapade that I liked the most is the solution for making it look like it was made from bricks. We needed something to imprint a brick pattern into the playdough, so we went looking in the Lego box. My mum saved all my Lego from when I was a kid, and we have these pieces that are meant to be used as walls for house building. I don't know if they make pieces like this anymore, but we were able to bundle a few of them with other Lego on top to hold them together and they made a great brick stamper.
This was where we stopped for the day. They had already started to draw part of the Emerald City onto a sparkly gift bag, so we carried on with that the next day.
Luckily the kids were only interested in making the Emerald City, so we didn't have to figure out how to make the Munchkin city, or the witch's castle or anything else. As usual I started them off with a base made from stuff in the recycling bin. A couple of cardboard boxes with a few strategic exacto knife cuts to them were enough to build onto.
We used four gift bags from the Dollar Tree to make it all sparkly and green. They were easy to draw on with Sharpies and put stickers on. There was a bit of painting on the brown box insides too.
All afternoon they spent building this on the kitchen table and then playing with it. Other random things were added to the set up from around the house, like fake flowers for the field of pink flowers they run across to get to the city, the forest where they meet the cowardly lion, and a Duplo house that the witch could be squished by. Turns out Duplo dudes make really good Munchkins too.
I don't know how long the Oz fettish will last around here, but there are things we can keep adding into the story. I think it would be quite cool to make the hot air balloon from the end of the movie, or tape some fake wings on the couple of Duplo monkeys we have. I'm sure the kids will have more ideas too. Here's a shot from the back of the city. Yes, the scarecrow is in bed with a couple of munchkins.
This isn't one of the two posts I mentioned in my last post that I was meaning to get up on here. I just got caught up in playing the Oz game with the kids and thought I'd post about it while it was fresh and I knew where the photos were. Do any of you other bloggers do that? Have intensions of posting about things and then get distracted by shiney new games to play?