The Importance of Small World Play for Toddlers!

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Small world play
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If, like most parents of younger children, you want toys which inspire imaginative creative play while facilitating learning and development for growing minds, then you may be interested in the benefits of small world play. So, what is small world play and why is it so important for children?

Small World Play

Small world play allows children to act out scenarios (scenes from real life, stories they have heard and/or from their imagination) in a miniature play scene, created with small figures and objects. A child’s small world play is often based around a certain theme depending on the child’s interests such as farming, construction area, dolls, fairy garden or even a dinosaur world.

Everyday items around the house or garden can be transformed to create small world play scenes. An empty box transforms into a garage for farming and construction toys, a carpet turns into a busy highway. The options are as limitless as kids’ imaginations! 

By adding a few extra materials to the mix it’s possible to extend the learning and fun even further. Small world landscapes such as a realistic toy field, doll house or a knight’s castle add additional sensory layers to the creative play. One of the easiest small worlds to create is a farm scene. What little boy or girl doesn’t enjoy feeding and tending their farm animal figurines, and of course making all those animal noises? By layering play with both everyday items and toys which facilitate learning and development and mimic real-life play landscapes, kids can act out/role play in a more realistic setting and apply every day learning to their scenes.

No two small worlds will ever be the same. Every time a child engages in small world play it will be a different experience, one which will become more complex as they grow and develop! 

Why is it important to a child’s development?

Small worlds, as well as being fun, are the ideal platform for nurturing children’s imagination from a young age. This play provides them with an opportunity to explore new materials, act out scenarios from real life, build language, practice social skills, and gain an understanding of the world. Small world play also benefits parents and caregivers, allowing them to engage in a fun and meaningful way with the child at the child’s level. It also offers an important glimpse of the world through the eyes of a child.

As with any kind of play, small world play supports children in their development in numerous ways. Emma O’Leary, blogger (Life with Tiny Humans), Speech & Language Therapist and mum of three believes… 

“Small world play is an excellent opportunity for kids to expand their ever-growing language skills. From exploring new vocabulary to organizing ideas, and developing sequencing skills, small world play can support children in becoming effective storytellers as they narrate their miniature adventures”.

Emotional Development

While engaged in small world play, children can explore and experiment with different emotions and act out these scenes in their play. Small world play allows children to control and manage their own environment making all the big decisions and re-creating their world as they see it.

Developing Personal and Social Skills

Small world play encourages children to be creative and to use their imaginations like no other play. It boosts their confidence and pride when they show off their creations for the first time. It is also an excellent way to build social skills and conflict resolution among younger children. …

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