We love reading books and playing with Lego! Two of our favourite activities combined; we are very fond of storytelling with Lego.
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The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr is a British classic, but the annotation of a story about a tiger coming to have tea with a little girl and her mom sounded rather plain, and I hesitated for quite some time before adding it to our collection. Finally, a particularly excited review by a Russian friend persuaded me. If children liked a translation of this story so much, it was certainly worth checking the original.
Upon opening, The Tiger Who Came to Tea did not disappoint in the least. Our whole family was charmed by the simple and orderly world where tea is served with sandwiches, buns, biscuits and cake at three o’clock for little girls to enjoy with their mothers, and tigers are welcomed to join. If they eat everything on the table, on the stove, in the fridge and in the pantry, no one gets angry or upset! Even Daddy, coming home from work and not finding any food, because the tiger came and ate everything, just marvels at the story and solves the dilemma by treating his family to dinner at a café.
While the plot may seem strange to an adult, I think that for toddlers it is the most reasonable and understandable story. Looking at my almost-two-year-old son, I think that his world revolves around dinosaurs, elephants and big trucks, so a big, furry, stripy tiger coming for tea is a very natural thing! The rest of the story falls well within a toddler’s concept of the world and is so familiar: having lunch with Mommy, waiting for Daddy to come home, going out to eat once in a while. Our Budster loved the story, and we soon learned it by heart, telling him this story without the book and even embellishing it with some fun details, like the name of our favourite café or our favourite foods to get there in the end of the story, when the family is dining out.
Then, one day we reenacted this story with Lego Duplo! We built the house with bricks and made food with playdough. Lego figures of a girl, a woman and a man became Sophie, her Mom and her Dad. The tiger was a Schleich plastic figurine. Of course, Budster also had to build a car for Sophie’s Dad, because he really enjoys making vehicles for his characters. It is strange that the tiger did not get one!
We sat down, and while I was telling the story, Budster was in the middle of everything, opening a door for the tiger to come in and feeding him food. He insisted that we put a bit of water in the bathtub for the tiger to drink. He also liked to be Sophie and follow the tiger around, and when the unexpected guest left, Budster promptly delivered Daddy, who took his family out to a cafe.
Storytelling with dolls, building blocks and other toys is great experience for small children. They get to touch the story, participate in it, and therefore understand it better, while learning new words and activities. In no time my son will be weaving his own long stories, but for now it is fun to do it together!
What did you recently build with Lego?
If you liked this game, you may also find these related activities interesting:
– Goodnight, Gorilla: look at how we told this story using Lego blocks
– Room on the Broom: build the house for the witch and her pets from a simple wooden box
– The Very Hungry Caterpillar: make a sensory bin for the famous insect