I created this fun imaginative play theater as part of a sponsored campaign with Collective Bias and its client. All opinions are my own.
If you follow me on Instagram then you know I’ve been chronicling my daughter’s new room remodel, but while I’ve been lost in a sea of new girly stuff I think Judah has gotten a little jealous. I never want him to feel left out, so I decided to check out the new Target Toy Emporium (available online) while searching for decor items and let him pick out a few things for himself. The website is set up so that parents can choose different goals (like create, imagine, build, etc.) and then shop the best toys that fall into each category. He was especially interested in the musical toys, so my wheels started turning and I had an idea for a fun pop up theater to help bring the whole experience to life. It was a major hit, and I used things we already had around the house. You can check out the tutorial a little further down, but first lets talk toys!
I’m not a fan of mind-numbing toys that have no purpose, so I gave him one requirement to stick by when choosing: it had to help him explore his imagination. One of my favorite educational and creative brands is B. toys which I’ve written about before, but it has been a while since I checked out any of their newer items. I love that when we clicked through to “Imagine” B. was front and center. They offer all kinds of innovative and brightly colored pieces for kids of all ages, and I love that they really expand on the creative side. We ended up choosing the Parum Pum Pum Drum and the Mat-A-Matics Musical Mat.
Since Judah is Autistic he sometimes needs a little push to use his imagination, so I usually choose toys based on how they will encourage him to think outside of the world around him. Toys that make him think and help open up new worlds that he might not be inclined to explore otherwise are a big hit around here. Some kids are fabulous at using their imagination – Kaia engages in pretend play every single day, but Judah lives in a very literal and concrete world, so combining quality toys with interactive environments like this pop up theater really help him step out of it.
DIY Pop Up Theater
This craft is great for kids all ages and super easy to use. It hangs by spring mount in any sized doorway and can be made from items that most people have around their house (with the exception of the rod). It stores easily, is lightweight and is something that kids can install on their own. It is great for pretend play, turn taking and all kinds of other activities!
You will need:
- Toddler sized flat sheet
- Spring mounted curtain rod (this will cost you $1-$3 at Target)
- pipe cleaners, ribbon or other fabric scraps to secure sides in place.
First cut off 6-12 inches from the bottom of your sheet if you have shorter kids (Judah is 4 and average height, so I cut off around 8 inches). Next, fold the sheet in half lengthwise, mark where the center is and cut upwards until you reach the top folded portion. This will give you a nice split without having to sew anything.
Flip your sheet over and make a slit on the far right and left sides of the top most portion where the fabric is doubled. (If you aren’t working with a standard sheet that has a top fold you need to sew one.) Slide the rod into one of them and out the other side.
Now mount it inside a door frame, pull each wing to the side using a pipe cleaner or ribbon and a small piece of tape. Guess what? You’re ready for a performance, and what better way to show off musical skills than with these cute and creative noise makers that come inside the Parum Pum Pum Drum?
Judah loves that each piece makes its own distinct sound, and he has been finding all different ways to combine them into fun rhythms. The Mat-A-Matics mat is great for this too, just set it down in front of your theater and watch your kids go crazy! It really surprised me with its quality and capabilities for being less than $30. It has several different functions like pre-recorded melodies, memorization, follow the leader and more! Plus each musical note lights up when stepped on! It is great for therapy sessions and teaching patience, turn taking and pattern recognition as well.
Judah loves his new activities, and I really feel like they are helping him developmentally as well. I can see his creativity shine through and I love watching him put on shows for us!
The Target Toy Emporium is available online only, but you can also check the site and see if they are available in stores on the toy aisle! #TargetToys #Collectivebias