Ask the child to identify the colors on each play piece, starting with the trees and traffic signs. Challenge the child to choose a sign or tree, name the colors on it, and then to find buildings that feature the same colors.
Have the child identify the different shapes of the signs (circle, triangle, square, rectangle, pentagon, octagon). Talk about what each sign means and why road signs are important.
Ask the child to sort the pieces into groups--signs, buildings, trees, and "other"--and to count the pieces in each group. Ask which group has the most pieces (12 buildings) and which has the least (3 "other"--fountain, fence, and wall).
Ask the child to identify the pieces that have words on them, such as the grocery mart, pet shop, recycling center, stop sign, speed limit sign, etc. Ask the child to find and point to letters in the alphabet as you say them aloud (for example, the child might point to the "A" in "DEPARTMENT," the "G" in "RECYCLING," or an "R" in the railroad crossing sign).
On a hard, flat surface, challenge the child to stack the pieces in different ways. For instance: all of the buildings laying flat; all of the buildings standing up; as many signs as possible; restaurant, Do Not Enter sign, fence, two pine trees, and school; or all the pieces with yellow on them. See how high the child can build a tower of pieces and what different shapes and designs he or she can create! Take turns stacking pieces, trying to build a tower as high as possible before it topples over.
Have the child use the pieces to set up set up a streetscape. Use string, yarn, blocks, or chalk (if surface is erasable) to create streets, and add other toys and play pieces the child already has, such as vehicles, animal figures, play people, or chunky puzzle pieces. Ask the child to take you "on a tour" of the town he or she has created. Ask him or her to tell you where to go to mail a letter, put gas in the car, buy groceries, or drop off empty cans and bottles. Take turns telling a story about people who live and work in the town.
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