When I posted about Toy Truck Games, I mentioned that Sammy turned it into his own ‘Small World’ in a way. I decided to take that idea and run with it! This parking lot small world was a bigger hit then I had imagined!
In a nut shell, small world play involves creating a scene or environment for your wee one to play with. The benefits of small world play are numerous!
Here are 5 benefits of small world play that I view as very important:
- Increasing Imagination and Creativity
- Language Development – specifically beginning to play with ‘voice’ (taking on different characters) and beginning story-telling skills
- Problem Solving Skills – working through issues between characters, or working out problems within the scene itself
- Learning Cause and Effect – since your wee one has complete control over this little world he or she begins to see what happens when certain actions are taken
- Developing Independent Play Skills
Now our parking lot small world play may seem like an odd choice. But my Sammy really enjoyed this aspect of the truck games we did, and there was actually a lot of math involved, so I thought it was a great choice.
To create this small world I used
- Painters tape
- foot stool
- piece of wood for a ramp
- clothes pins (as people)
- cars and trucks (with tape on the top, folded to attach clothes pin people)
- Trees made of pipe cleaners and clothespins (inspiration from this post from Play-Trains)
I set up this small world thinking carefully about how Sammy likes to play. I really wanted to get as many benefits of small world play out of this activity as possible. Right now: he is busy, developing fine motor skills, and likes to use characters and voice while he plays.
Because of this, I wanted to make sure Sammy had room to move around. Different levels I thought would be ideal (and simple) by adding a footstool and a ramp. I also wanted him to use characters, but I wanted to ensure he used his imagination to make those characters whatever he chose. So I used clothes pins – which also help with fine motor skills. The cloths pins did wind up being passengers.
Sammy loved his small world and played with it for close to one hour straight. He decided he needed more cars, and also more parking spots. This activity became an excellent visual-spatial activity as he wanted to move the tape around to make a parking spot big enough for every car to fit in – very snugly.
The passengers took turns parking cars, giving friends a ride to pet the fuzzy trees, and discussing how to make things happen.
This Parking Lot Small World Play was a very big success. Sammy loved it and had so much fun. He was very creative and imaginative and also stretched his thinking and understanding of how things can fit together. He practiced problem solving and taking on different character’s voices. And he pet fuzzy trees.
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