Winter wonderland imaginary play

Turn a simple cardboard box into a fabulous Winter Wonderland for lots of creative imaginary play and storytelling.

A Winter Wonderland play scene children can make for winter imaginary play | NurtureStore :: inspiration for kidsWinter wonderland imaginary play

Our winter pixies have been made homeless, as their fairy land light table has been transformed into a nativity play scene, so it was time to create a frosty land for them to move into.

nativity imaginary play

I took a large, shallow cardboard box and painted it white. I prepared this the night before so that in the morning it would be ready and waiting for the children to take over ~ ready for them to transform with their own ideas. 
winter play sceneI set out our winter pixies…

winter pretend play pixiesand some materials that I thought might interest the children. These included some blank card templates (last seen when we designed our dream houses), some pieces or card and papers, some shells, wooden tiles and some ‘ice gems’.  These serve as an invitation, to get things started, but of course the children can pull in any items from our loose parts and craft shelves, to play with.

winter invitation to playThe first thing they decided to make was a frozen pond, made by glueing some tin foil to the box, and surrounding it with a few card flowers.

frozen pond winter imaginary playThen they decided that if you had a pond, you’d want to skate on it ~ so they made a skate-hire store.

make a winter play sceneA cafe was added by the pond, so the pixies could warm up with hot chocolate.

snow town imaginary playAnd one enterprising pixie set up a Christmas tree shop. (It’s such a good idea to always have pencils and paper nearby. I often find the children add in bits of writing to their imaginary play if the materials are easily available. Invented spelling is wonderful to see ~ a real indication that children are thinking about sounds and letters and how they fit together. In this circumstance I never correct the spelling: I try to really encourage the children to have a try and not be put off, thinking there’s no point if they can’t do it perfectly.)

christmas tree imaginary playAll sorts of clever making started happening: polystyrene pizza bases were turned into sledges…

sledging pretend playscraps of tissue paper and card became market stalls…

winter market pretend playa fishing rod was created and rented out by the hour.

ice pretend playBusiness was brisk inside the ice skating shop (don’t you love those shelves of boots?)

ice skating small worldAnd the pixies had a fine time playing on the frozen pond.

ice skating winter imaginary playLots and lots of making, imaginary play, storytelling and language development, all from a cardboard box and a few simple props.

super sensory footerSuper Sensory Invitations to Play

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.


  1. Denise Ridley says

    I love the winter wonder land tray, how did you make or where did you get the pixies from please Dx

  2. Melanie says

    Dear Cathy,
    your ideas are so wonderful! I am au-pair and i am taking care of 2 boys (2 and 5 years old) and I also come on your website to gather some ideas, which are by the way so nice.
    Thats why I wanted to thank you, really much, for the sharing !!!

    • says

      Thank you Melanie! Lovely to hear from you, and I’m so happy to hear you are all enjoying the ideas. You’ll have to join in with our Simple Play Series which is coming in January. Cathy

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