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Small World Play

Young children learn best when they are actively engaged, talkative and having fun. Our aim for our small world play area is to help spark children’s imaginations and creativity by engaging them with the opportunity to tell stories through all their senses.

This small world play scape started as a landscape for animals but moved on to include a digger and pebbles.

We provide a variety of small world resources from cars and trains, little people or Happyland scenes to “playscapes”, contained areas with a variety of resources to enable the children to play creatively.

The children have moved the blocks out of the box this time and are playing with the animals in the moon sand.

Small world play is at its most creative when the children have a wide range of props and characters to hand. Blocks, either natural shapes or squared off can build houses, towers or can be trees, mountains, cars or anything the child can imagine them to be. Whilst some characters can be useful (animals, people, dinosaurs etc) imagination can be promoted further when the characters provided can fulfil multiple roles.

Simple coconut bark and natural wood blocks encouraged the children to build houses for these elephants to sleep in.

Small world play can help children meet a wide variety of the learning and development goals of the EYFS. Some of the areas that can be met are:

Personal, Social & Emotional Development:
• Initiates conversations, attends to and takes account of what others say. (40-60+)
• Explains own knowledge and understanding, and asks appropriate questions of others. (40-60+)
• Can play in a group, extending and elaborating play ideas, e.g. building up a role-play activity with other children. (30-50)
• Initiates play, offering cues to peers to join them. (30-50)
• Keeps play going by responding to what others are saying or doing. (30-50)

Penguins with fake snow and pebble “rocks” provide scope for extending children’s use of language

Communication & Language:
Maintains attention, concentrates and sits quietly during appropriate activity. (40-60+)
• Two-channelled attention – can listen and do for short span. (40-60+)
• Builds up vocabulary that reflects the breadth of their experiences. (30-50)
• Uses talk in pretending that objects stand for something else in play, e,g, ‘This box is my castle.’ (30-50)

Mathematics:
Uses familiar objects and common shapes to create and recreate patterns and build models. (40-60+)
• Uses everyday language related to time. (40-60+)
• Beginning to use everyday language related to money. (40-60+)
• Shows an interest in shape and space by playing with shapes or making arrangements with objects. (30-50)

Different ways of playing with oats

Understanding the world:
• Shows interest in different occupations and ways of life. (30-50)
• Can talk about some of the things they have observed such as plants, animals, natural and found objects. (30-50)
• Talks about why things happen and how things work. (30-50)

Expressive Arts & Design:
• Engages in imaginative role-play based on own first-hand experiences.(30-50)
• Builds stories around toys, e.g. farm animals needing rescue from an armchair ‘cliff’. (30-50)
• Uses available resources to create props to support role-play. (30-50)
• Captures experiences and responses with a range of media, such as music, dance and paint and other materials or words. (30-50)
• Create simple representations of events, people and objects. (40-60+)
• Introduces a storyline or narrative into their play. (40-60+)
• Plays alongside other children who are engaged in the same theme. (40-60+)
• Plays cooperatively as part of a group to develop and act out a narrative. (40-60+)