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Sitting down with your child to play with a small world is the ideal environment to work on early literacy skills together. Relaxing into a world of make believe will not only nurture your child’s growing imagination, but also provide a safe environment for them to talk uninhibited as they play.
We have played with small world beaches, dinosaur lands and construction sites, but our all time favorite small world to create is an under the sea adventure.
*Guest post by Nicola of Crafty Kids at Home
Living by the sea is a huge influence in our activities, and our close proximity to our local sealife center means that we have a ready supply of sea creatures to play with.
As well as the characters in your small world, you also need to set the scene with lots of different elements and textures to give all the senses a work-out as you tell your story.
Creating an Under the Sea Small World
Supplies (feel free to substitute supplies for what you have on hand – there is no right/wrong way to make this small world)
- Deep Tray
- Bubble Wrap
- Blue Felt
- Pom Poms
- Clear Gems
- Sea Creatures
- Wholemeal Flour
Ahead of the activity
I covered half of our deep tray with a blue felt “sea” and the other half with bubble wrap “waves” and a sandy wholemeal flour “beach”. The poms poms and gems helped to add a few more props and textures to the small world as well.
Then last but not least I added in our growing collection of sea creatures.
Playing With The Small World
Don’t be afraid to get involved yourself and ask questions to help keep your child’s story flowing as they play with the different parts of their small world adventure. Encourage them to describe what is happening to help develop their descriptive language skills. You could even take on the role of one of the characters in the small world yourself, to help introduce and reinforce new words with your child.
My kids love playing with small worlds together as well. My youngest daughter in particular learns so much from playing with and listening to her brother’s stories. She is then even keener to add in her own words.
Daddy was home when we set up this activity for the first time, so he enjoyed a one-to-one session with Freddie (6). They happily chatted and played for ages with the small world. Bella (4) and Liam (8) then demanded to join in as well, so it turned into a really fun family storytelling adventure as they all tried to compete with each other for the most elaborate storylines. I’m sure Part 2 won’t be far away either.
More Ocean-Themed Fun
Looking for more ideas and inspiration for learning about ocean life? Here are some of our favorite activities:
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