There’s something so wonderful about creating a small world to play with. Whether your child loves dolls, trains, dinosaurs or diggers, setting up a miniature land, where they can imagine, role play, chat and act our stories, is packed full of play and learning potential. Here are fifteen of our favourite small world play ideas, and invitation for you to join in with us.
What happens when we help children gather materials and set up a small world?
They stretch their imaginations and make up stories. They develop language, learn and practise new words, and make conversations between characters. They explore their senses and invent things with loose parts.
They might try out new situations or work on fears or challenges they are facing in real life. They get to be the boss, in charge of their own mini world (which every child would love, right?!).
And we get a window into them, their minds and their passions, as we watch them direct the play and share what is important to them right now.
A small world is super simple to set up – or as elaborate as you care to make it. Two dolls, two cups and a tea pot and you have a cafe ready to go. Draw some roads on a piece of paper and add some cars and you’ve got a city. But if you love crafting and making, you can go to town, adding all sorts of embellishments too.
Young children get the most from small worlds which are familiar – where they can act out things they see in everyday life, or which bring a favourite story to life. Older children might love to really stretch their imaginations and create magical lands and fantasy worlds.
Favourite small worlds
Make simple puppets, and host a tea party.
Or set up a sensory tub small world – like this sleepy bunny lavender tub.
Ready for a whole year of exploring through the senses? Super Sensory Invitations to Play is a delightful resource that encourages your children to explore the five senses through the year, using a wide variety of sensory materials. It includes 52 invitations to play, linked to the festivals and seasons of the year, and including water, ice, dough, rice, paints, sand, sensory tubs, and more.
They are easy, simple, and fun ideas that you can use right now to give a multi-sensory boost to your play and learning. It comes with a printable recipe book featuring all our favourite recipes for play. Come and see more here.