How wonderous it is to explore a city by night! Everything looks so different. And light really enhance some details that may pass unotice in the day light. Like the warmth of luminous windows in urban areas, the light spots on the floor from the streets lights, the shiny lights of cars moving around, and even the small spots of light from far away places.

With this play invitation we create a nightscape scenario for construction where children can experiment with light and give life to magical and fantastic cities through unique creations.

Children can explore light and shadow, shape, volume, develop the sense of organization, aesthetic perception and symbolic representations.

What Could Lead Us to This Play Invitation

  • Children have been exploring light;
  • Children are curious about the place they live and what happens at night;
  • Children are excited about exploring dark places.

Materials Needed

• Building blocks
• Loos parts
• Rope light
• Photos of city night landscapes

Setting up this Play Invitation

  1. Organize a construction space over a dark rug, or paper, and add a rope light.
  2. Place the construction materials around this space so children have access to them.

    Tip: You can darken the classroom to accentuate the effect of the rope lights and create more contrast in the shadows.

How to Explore

  1. Invite children to the construction space and wonder with them about:
    • What does this remind you of?
  2. Share the photos of cities around the world after dark.
    • How do you feel when you go out at night?
    • Some areas have more light than others, why do you think that is?
    • Who turns the lights on and off?
  3. Challenge children to build their city around the rope light.

Optional Next Step: Offer paints and paper and invite children to paint a night landscape.

How to Nurture the Natural Unfolding of the Child’s Identity During This Play Invitation

  • Children have the right to have interesting contexts to explore construction. We must find ideas and ways to offer children different materials, structures, landscapes and spaces that go beyond the rug on the floor. This way children have more opportunities to invent new and creative solutions.
  • Honor children’s need to practice social situations. Construction games are great opportunities for children to practice roles to develop social skills as well as their self-asteem, belonging, and communication skills.

The Academic Learning Opportunities

  • MATH: Combining shapes, lines and volumes, exploring quantity, size, position, and direction.
  • SCIENCE: Play with light and shadow.
  • SOCIAL: Collaboration and cooperation.
  • ART: Children have opportunities to make decisions and develop self-expression and creativity.


  • Take children to observe light traffic signs and dialogue about the use of light to communicate directions and control traffic. What do they communicate? Why are they important?

Book Recommendation

An exciting night exploration of a young girl and her dad.

A story about the wonders of being outside at night.