Small World Play

Small World Play


Imaginative Play

Small worlds

First off I want to say that I’m loving the beautiful weather we’re having these past two days! Though we have managed to get outside to play every day this winter (rain, snow and slush) I can’t deny that I LOVE the sunny weather!

This post is about small world imaginative play. Again the internet has a way of labelling everyday childhood experiences so that we can all easily search and PIN ideas for activities to play with our little ones. Small world play is just a fancy name for using toys and sets for pretend play. Many small world sets you find online have a sensory element to them- some water or something messy for the kids to mix, dump and scoop.

As a child I loved small world play, I remember a tiny toy monkey I used to pretend was climbing trees and swinging along imaginary vines. As a mom I find small world play to be an activity that is engaging for me as well as for the kids.

Small world play can be as simple as bringing a few plastic animals, small dolls or small cars outside into the garden or it can involve elaborate miniature towns or sets that you build for or with the kids. I love them all and I enjoy planning & making them as much as I love playing with them!


Simple Small World Play 

You can set the stage for small world play with very little preparation. Simply bring a few plastic animals outside and let the kids do the rest. We have several miniature animals, regular animals and dinosaurs that we like to rotate. Sometimes I will hide the animals in the trees, the bushes or around the sandbox. Sometimes I will leave them in a box for the kids to set out how they want. You can fill a bucket with water and place a few inside there. I like to change the toys around every few days or so just to keep the kids interested.




Sand and water table- Small worlds 

My current favourite is our sand and water table. There are many variations of this toy and they are inexpensive and very versatile. You can use them as advertised with sand on one side and water on the other or you can use them as a sensory bin or small world set.

We have filled them with clean pebbles and water for scooping, dumping and pouring. One setup that was a hit was using our table as a tide pool with pebbles, seashells and water with small plastic fish and sea creatures (picture below.)


Our latest small world setup is made up of moss, stones and miniature creatures. This weekend I collected a bunch of moss to use in a future project. I will be making some fairy gardens and will use the moss as grass. I needed to store the moss until then and thought it would make a great material for a small world set and I’m really happy with how it turned out!


The moss looks like a lush forest and the rocks look like mountains peaking through. The kids gathered up some small animals to add to the forest and when we do our dinosaur theme we will fill it will miniature dinosaurs.


It’s also nice to fill the sand table with dry sand as a nice change from our almost always wet sand pit



Or fill the table with water and mini boats




Here is a post full of water table small world ideas



For more ideas for small world play and other invitations to play, visit my pintrest page! 


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