I used to be scared of setting up small world playscapes for my children. I’m serious. The thought of the time and energy that would go into gathering up the bits and pieces, the setting it all up, to only watch it destroyed in a matter of moments that would see me throw up my hands in defeat. That was when I embraced open-ended play and loose parts and realised I didn’t need to set up enticing theme based invitations to play, because my children were already getting the benefits of small world play through our open-ended play invitations!
Open-ended small world play is entirely child-led and self-directed. We have recently added this beautiful felted small world play mat to inspire the children’s imaginations. We have added a few loose parts for the children to have the opportunity to use their imaginations and create their own personal stories. Open-ended small world play also encourages children to use language, as they talk about the character actions and narrate the story.
When I placed this beautiful felt play mat out on the nature table, I was able to stand back and watch what a wonderful addition it is to the children’s small world play. I had left some loose parts near the play mat and waited to see what the children would do with this provocation or invitation to play.
I observed the children use their creative thinking skills to problem solve. Look at these wonderful alternative uses for the resources below! I was delighted as the children transformed these open-ended resources and loose parts into anything they could possibly imagine. For more on imagination play read 10 Ways To Encourage Imaginative Play.
Throughout the year we will swap out these loose parts for others that we find on our nature walks. I love to see the children’s playscapes reflect the change in the seasons over the year!
There are lots of ways to present small world play to your children. I’d love to see what you do. Just tag playfulmatters on Instagram, I’ll be sure to stop by x
Yours in play,