Thursday 27 September 2012

Big and Little... The Office

BIG and LITTLE is back for September and the theme is office. Tomorrow Jillian will reveal her BIG pretend play office over at A Mom with a Lesson Plan..... but today I get to show you our LITTLE Office Tower made for some special toys. If you are new to BIG and LITTLE you can read about it here.

I found a shallow and sturdy grocery box for the office tower structure. To make the dividing floors, I cut two pieces of cardboard to size and glued them in with my hot glue gun. I also added a generous layer of sticky tape to withstand energetic play. The top floor was for Cakey's toy animal and the middle floor was for Boo's toy animal. We all decided the bottom floor should be a cafe. After all, those hard working office animals need their caffeine!

Making office art

The girls made little cardboard laptops and calculators for their animals. They also created some art for the office walls with crayons and cardboard. We got the stamping kit out to make little books. Cakey and Boo love stamping – they had a lovely time stamping everything and drawing in the little books.

Writing in the little office books

I stockpile little boxes – they all came out for this project. I covered the boxes in coloured paper to brighten things up. The girls chose their desks and we glued them in place... all ready for their laptops. We made bookshelves from sticky tape boxes. I cut them in half, we stacked them and taped them in place. The shelves were quickly filled with books.

For the cafe we made some bowls and cups from air drying clay. I made a vase and a coffee machine. The air drying clay was left to dry before it was painted. We use air drying clay regularly. It is a wonderful material – I must write more about it some day.

A visitor arriving by elevator

We realised we needed an elevator. I cut a taco box in half, Cakey hole punched it and threaded in a pipecleaner to make a handle. We attached a long piece of string to the pipecleaner. I made a hole in the side of the office tower and threaded the string through it. Now we could pull the elevator up and down. To stop the toy animals plummeting to the ground I stuck a wooden skewer into the cardboard floor. We could tie the elevator string around the skewer and the animals could get alight safely.

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I hope you have enjoyed this month's BIG and LITTLE, it will be back again next month. If this is your first visit to at home with Ali – welcome. If you like it, you can follow along through our facebook page or subscribe via email or RSS. Cheers Ali

Linked to Serenity You, It's Playtime, Happy Hour Projects and Delicate Construction


  1. I love, love, love it!!! What a great mixture of mom and kid involvement.

    1. Thanks Jill, we all had a good time making this. Can't wait to see the BIG :)

  2. That is ridiculously adorable! I love how you're repurposing all those boxes. And the elevator! It looks like Cakey and Boo had a great time with this.

    1. Little boxes are so useful, I need to start a new stockpile now.

  3. This is so cute. I love the little books and the floors of this office tower.

  4. This is just great! Your Big and Little series seems good fun for kids who are really into role play (like mine) I should try one of your ideas soon and of course link back!

    Pinning and sharing on FB

  5. I love this!!! What a wonderful play space for your kiddos - I see many hours of pretend play happening here :)

  6. I love this pretend play series! Great job on the little office. :)

  7. awww how sweet!!

    would love it if you could share this on my link party Serenity Saturday -

    Natasha xx

  8. Hi Ali
    I love your office block! If only real ones were as much fun! You mentioned you used air drying clay a lot.. I bought some ages ago in homage to Mister Maker (I love that man!) but have not yet opened it cos I don't really know what to do with it. Do you need to do anything with it before you let your (nearly) 2 and 3 year old loose on making sculptures with it? And do you need to paint or lacquer it afterwards to stop it going all crumbly? Mister Maker only ever says you could paint it if you have time but we have been given some to make caterpillars with at forest school and it has flaked away to nothing with giant cracks right through it before I've made it back to the car with it! Please give me some tips cos you're ace at arty stuff! Jenni x

    1. Hi Jenni, I can't find a way to email you this reply so I hope you check back. We love Mister Maker too! You don't need to do anything with the air drying clay before you let your kids play with it. I do buy the pricey air drying clay, I bought the really cheap stuff once but it wasn't worth it as the clay was too hard for their little fingers to manipulate. It does dry out as you are working with it, I wouldn't recommend working with it outside in a breeze as it will dry too quickly and then crumble when the kids try to mould it. You could try supplying a cup of water and getting the kids dip their fingers in it to keep a alittle moisture on the clay if they want to play with it alot. I haven't tried that but I am going to give it a go next time we get it out. I do notice that if my girls try to re-work a piece after a while it starts to crack, I often fix pieces with a little bit of superglue once it has fully dried. I will write a post about this soon, I promise.

  9. Hi Ali
    Please help. How do you get your cardboard floors to stay flat/straight when the tenants move in?
    I have tried making cardboard shelves (floors) and it all sags/bends in the middle when something is put on in.
    Please share ...
    thank you

    1. Hi, This is what I did. I used a very sturdy piece of cardboard. Generally paper and cardboard will bend/fold more easily in one direction - this will depend on the grain. Link to info on grain ( You want to work with the grain. Try bending the cardboard before you cut it to determine the strongest direction and then use that knowledge to cut the cardboard with the longest side with the grain. Gosh I hope that makes sense.

      A few other tips: cut it exactly to size so that it is a very tight fit; hot glue around all edges (including the back) really thoroughly; add a layer of tape for extra support, I used packaging tape and made a hinge like piece attached to the back of the box and then folded onto the shelf. Nothing very heavy was put on the shelves so they didn't bend.

      I hope this helps. Cheers Ali


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