The other night, when Little Pea had gone to bed, I was feeling a bit frazzled and fed up. Little Pea had been really unwell with a virus which terrified me, and I’d missed a really important week at work which left me trapped in a cycle of guilt at missing work and feeling guilty for feeling that way when Little Pea was so ill… I decided that I needed something to focus on to take my mind off it, so I grabbed my craft knife, card and glue to set up an activity I’ve been meaning to do for a while now.
Peepo! By Janet and Alan Ahlberg is one of those children’s books that everyone knows. Like their other books for young children, it is beautifully illustrated, with a wonderful rhyme scheme which encourages the little reader to look for and identify objects within the illustration. The thing that makes Peepo! really special is the circular holes cut out of each page that give you a glimpse of what the baby in the book is spying and allow you to peek at more and more and more of the scene as you turn the page, until you have the whole image laid out in front you. Little Pea has found this incredibly exciting since she was very small, and her copy of Peepo! is showing signs of having been vigorously loved by a toddler.
Given how much she loved peeking through the circles in the book, I wondered what she would make of a game of peepo which used the idea of spying an image through cut out shapes with pictures of objects that she is passionate about, like the baby in Peepo! who keeps coming back to his Teddy and his ball.
Using some coloured card, a glue stick, a craft knife and some pictures, I made mini cardboard books to turn our wall into a lift-the-flap, Peepo experience. Inside the mini-books I stuck postcards of an old teddy bear and a stripey piglet, photographs of our guinea pigs and Little Pea with her Daddy and cousin, and a picture of a dog that I had cut out of a magazine. She was very curious about it as soon as she spotted it, and was excited to lift and open the flaps in various directions. When she saw the photograph of her cousin and the photograph of the guinea pigs, she giggled and tried saying their names, which was something I hadn’t heard her do before so was definitely worth the set up.
It didn’t take her too long to pull the books off the wall as they were held on with masking tape (which she’s fascinated with) and she carried them around the house with her for the rest of the day. They were a little bent by the end of it all, but I’m planning to smooth them out and bring them back out to play with new images inside in the near future.