Small world play provides many of the same educational benefits as dramatic play, but it can be created on a much smaller scale!
The small world play zoo invitation featured in this post, was created using our Zoo Dramatic Play Set, and combined with play animals, people, blocks, faux greenery, and natural materials.
These mini scale signs were achieved by printing a full sized dramatic play set using a multiple pages per sheet printing technique.
Small world play allows children to re-create the places they have visited (or may visit one day) in their community, and act out the experiences they have there.
To encourage children to build a small world play zoo, provide them with a box of building materials, signs, and allow them to build!
Children can build different habitats for each of the animals.
Allow children to create their own world. Instead of setting up the space for them, you can be the facilitator who provides them with the materials they'll need. Encourage them to write/draw a list of materials they'd like you to collect.
Setting up a small world play area allows children to improve executive functioning skills, as they make and execute a plan.
As they build they will need to problem solve. Not all animals will fit in the zoo enclosures. They will need to decide if the enclosures need to be expanded, or if the animals will need to be relocated to a different area.
Small world play, as well as dramatic play, provides a wonderful opportunity for children to build social skills. They will need to work together to take turns, listen to their friends ideas, and respect the work of others.
Small world play allows young children use print rich materials. Easily create your own mini signs using this printing technique.
In addition to pre-made materials, be sure to provide children with opportunities to create their own props. Allow children to use their creativity by proving paper, and recycled materials to add to their pretend world.
Provide tape to allow them to attach, and display their signs.
Incorporate different colored, and textured fabric to create the look of water, grass, sand, or dirt.
A zoo small world play set up, allows young children to explore the different needs of different animals.
Listen as children build new vocabulary through their play. Ask children the 5-W questions to build new vocabulary, such as asking: "What is a baby giraffe called?", or "What do giraffes eat?"
Notice as children build math skills as they play. Build more skills by discussing how many animals are in each enclosure. Use positional words to describe their location, for example, "I see the baby cub is in front of the mother bear".
Children will build self confidence skills as they show off their fantastic creations. Be sure to take photos of their small worlds, which will allow them to share their work with friends and family.
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