At this stage of development and with limited exposure to real life experiences, small children need to have this type of play clearly modelled to them. They do not automatically understand what to do and how to role-play with toys if they have not either experienced the scenario for themselves in real life, or watched you, as the adult, demonstrating what they can do.
So, in this game, I pretended to drive the different vehicles around the construction site, narrating what I was doing as I did it and putting on different voices for each of the little men. “Right boys, we are going to be making a road today!” The guy driving the steam-roller did a lot of rolling and flattening through the pasta, and I laid a piece of wood down to start building a path.
Cakie then got the idea and got more wood to add to that while I had the other men clearing the boulders out of the way “phew this is really heavy, I need some help over here!” She then started driving the trucks and adding her own “beep beeps” and “out the way!” commands.
She got some other toys and added them to the play scene, inventing new story lines. This necklace was a “big snake” and must have been pretty scary even for those tough builders!