Small world play is simply when children explore figurines, loose parts, and sensory materials that reenact scenes from nature, books, fairytales, or a subject matter of interest.
Many small worlds incorporate sensory play materials to enrich the experience and make it more realistic. To create this wintry arctic small world I first froze a whole bunch of ice in recycled fruit cups to be igloos and Tupperware as ice bergs, reused the Steve Spangler insta snow from the Little Penguins Invitation, flat marbles, arctic figurines, bottle brush trees, droppers, and beakers of water with Colorations Liquid Water Colors. All placed in a sensory bin.
Small worlds are great for many areas of development, including language, imaginary play, and sensory play. This type of play can be defined as where children accept and assign roles, and then act them out. To further enhance their play adding the tactile elements creates endless possibilities with materials that heightens a new depth of sensory play. When children engage in play they break through the walls of reality, pretend to be someone or something different from themselves, and dramatize situations and actions to go along with the roles they have chosen to play. This type of play is an integral part of the developmental learning process by allowing children to develop skills in such areas as abstract thinking, literacy, math, and social studies, in a timely natural manner. They are able to play and manipulate a variety of materials and textures with stimulate their mind and body. It encourages language development, fine motor skills, hand-eye
coordination, focus and concentration.