Today I was reminded of the importance of small world play.
Here at Natural Explorers we use small world play in a variety of ways the most obvious being pretend role play. But when we mix a variety of materials it suddenly becomes a sensory activity.
In the farm we used popping corn as our sensory material. Initally it was unpopped and the animals ate it, it was stored in the barn and just generally handled. Then we popped some, ate some and played with some…. so many activities generated from that one small world senario.
When the small world is made to represent a place it becomes a habitat or ecosystem and then we are able to demonstrate how birds, animals, insects and nature all interact.
At first the dinosaurs lived in a small world but eventually wanted to go off and see the world. The children, using their own initiative, built a den for them (from found wood and some leaves) and provided water, brought over in a shell.
We can use it as an engineering scenario – building dens or homes for ourselves or other animals.