To continue our insect exploration this month, we invited the children to get hands on with bugs, natural materials (dirt, wood rounds, flowers, leaves, pinecones), and more on our tuff trays. Typically in our centers these invitations are set both indoors and outdoors to simply ignite their curiosity and wonder about the world. Every child is welcomed to engage in whatever area they desire. These invitations are merely intentional provocations and extensions of what we read during circle/story or what they are currently interested in.
Since we have been reading so many insect books we set out this Insect small world play accompanied with sensory materials as a way for extending literacy, language, imaginary play, & tactile play. Through this play they can reenact what they see in stories, shows, experiences, & environments around them to deepen their understanding of the world. This type of play can be defined as where children accept & assign roles, then act them out.
When children engage in small world play they break through the walls of reality, use their imagination, pretend to be someone or something different from themselves, explore different worlds, & have actions to go along with the roles they have chosen to play.
Play is an integral part of the developmental learning process by allowing children to develop skills in such areas as abstract thinking, literacy, math, & social studies, in a timely natural manner. They are able to play and manipulate a variety of materials and textures that stimulate their mind & body while deepening their connection & understanding of the world.