Yasmeen Kamrani Sallam
The Shortest Day Small World Play
The winter solstice has been a significant time of year in many cultures and has been marked by festivals & rituals. It marked the symbolic death and rebirth of the Sun; the gradual waning of daylight hours is reversed and begins to grow again. The book The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper is a book about the celebrations of winter solstice where it blends long ago & modern day imagery. It is a perfect book that opens discussion about rebirth rituals and holidays that incorporate light, & celebrates hope even in darkest times.
After reading this story inviting children to explore a Small World Play of Winter Solstice. You can place set it up a in sensory bin, mat, or tuff tray. Provide led tea lights, tree blocks, wooden peg dolls, fire and sun blocks, target dollar spot wooden block houses, & insta snow. Invite the child to recreate scenes from the book to deep their comprehension of the story.
Small world play accompanied with sensory materials are a great 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.