Splash pads have become a summer time staple! A fun way to make it even more engaging and get a longer stretch of engaged open ended play is by adding figurines to create a small world play habitat.
Small world play accompanied with sensory materials (water, sand, rocks, etc.) are a great way for extending literacy, language, imaginary play, and tactile play. Through this play they can reenact what they see in stories, shows, experiences, and environments around them to deepen their understanding of the world. This type of play can be defined as where children accept and 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, and 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 and body while deepening their connection and understanding of the world.