IMG_5888Ever since I finished the “Construction Zone” in our block area I wanted to find ways for the little ones to get inspired and get building. I added trucks, blocks, color cones, highway rug, pictures, etc. I still struggle to see the children grabbing the trucks and blocks.

One afternoon it occurred to me that I can have a mini construction zone set up for them so the children can play with the smaller trucks. I quickly went outside and check our recycling bins.IMG_5857

I found a cardboard with flaps and folds so I took it (any flat cardboard would work anyway). All you need to do is figure out if the box is wide and long enough in order to have a panel in which you can display pictures of construction sites if not all you have is a flat surface with rocks on it.

Now I also found rocks, it took me a while but I was able to get some dry dirt. My intention is to glue all of these materials to the cardboard so I really don’t think anything wet would work.

IMG_5856I also found some dry sticks that can be used as trees. In order to glue the rocks, dirt and sticks I used “Mod Podge” you can find it in any art store.

When I decided how the box will fold and stand I secured the sides with painter’s tape, we use this kind of tape a lot. Now I spread generously the mod podge on the cardboard in order to have a thick layer, then I sprinkled some dirt, I added more glue and I made sure the dirt and glue were all mixed together. Now that I have this icky mess I proceeded to add the rocks in different places. When I was happy with the layout I added more glue on top of the rocks.

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Now that I have the surface resembeling a construction zone in progress I quickly googled “Construction zone images” I printed out 2 and glue them to the side of the cardboard that stands tall.

IMG_5863Now I think I added the trees after the picture, honestly I don’t remember but it does not matter, I let this dry overnight but 8 hours was not enough, the next day there were still some soft areas so maybe 12 hours should do it. I also left some loose rocks so we can have the dump trucks carry them across the zone.

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The next day I brought the mini construction zone out and all of my toddlers and pre-k  children loved it. Keep in mind that no matter how cool it look this isn’t for every child. I experimented observing 2 boys about the same age and energy level playing with this new toy. One of the boy who is  2.7 y/o  sat down touched the trucks and rocks for about 15 minutes then asked to go to the playroom. The other boy who is 2.9 y/o literally played for one hour and a half!

Girls were very interested as well but none of them has played for more than 20 minutes.


  1. Cardboard
  2. Mod Podge
  3. rocks
  4. dirt
  5. brush for applying Mod Podge
  6. tape
  7. mini trucks
  8. rocks, not too small.

Things I forgot to mention….

The Mod Podge is strong water based glue, it looks white when you apply it but then it dries clear and glossy so the sticks and dirt are glued to the cardboard with a hint of wetness.

You have to wash the brush you used to apply the glue right away if not Mod Podge dries fairly quickly and you can say bye to that brush in 10 minutes.

If you can add some more ideas to this project or have any comments please let me know in the comment area bellow, have fun!


I’ve had the pleasure to witness dozens of young lives grow and evolve in the past 15 years. The more I work with children the greater is my conviction that young lives are the key to our progress and evolution. Early childhood isn’t a glitch in our lives, it isn’t a bare memory that will fade eventually nor is the equivalent of a 5-year rule that life will start over after kindergarten. Early childhood is the time where brand new minds open up to understand this world. Children are hungry, they are born hungry, from the moment they take their first breath and remain hungry for the next 5 years. Our children are hungry for understanding, knowledge, they are hungry to understand social-emotional situations, themselves and others.

1 comment

  • Dawn

    This is such a great idea that I am inspired to try! Elizabeth, you are so creative! The children are so lucky to have you!

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