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Small world


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Hi,

Small world is an area that I find I'm always unsure of whether I'm providing enough. I have a shelving unit set up with boxes of people, vehicles, farm animals, signs, trees, train set, natural pieces, coloured felt and a dolls house at the side with furniture and figures. We have a swap round of the bigger resources and add to depending on interests and themes but don't have many extra 'sets'. Often when I'm trawling the Internet lots of lovely small world scenes catch my eye but often find that it takes me ages (and money!) to set these scenes up and then find them in a total mess! I want the children to use them in their own way but it can be frustrating when it takes you so long to make something then it's pulled apart.

Anyway, my question is - how much do other's develop small world scenes? And, do you find the children use open ended resources such as fabric and natural resources or that you need to show children how to do it?

Thanks,

Green Hippo x

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We do have dolls houses, farm buildings and a castle but raitrly use them. We use the play people with the bricks and small pieces of material. We try to follow children's interests regarding which themed small play to use but children often have their own ideas yesterday the brick block area became a home for the teddies from the home corner!!

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We use all our small world equipment ie: farm animals, zoo animals, people, pirates, castle, dolls house, cars, trains, but then add enhancements.

So this week we have the dinosaurs out with playdough and stones.

The children have made footprints with the dinosaur figures in the playdough which has led to discussions on bones, marks, with accompanying books to extend children's learning.

We do use other materials too, such as artificial grass, natural matting, leaves, pebbles, rocks, fabrics and cardboard boxes to make enclosures.

We do find some of our children might play with it in a completely different way than we anticipated but that's fine too.:)

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It really depends on the piece of equipment being used.

We have a weekly core planning sheet for all areas of our large hall / room.

We just add to this as and when we add items.

We might also extend an area for the next week depending on the level of interest and participation.

Hope this makes sense.:)

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I cut out a large piece of cardboard to fit our tuff spots and with the help of children we covered it in different colours/textures, shiny blue river, scrunched up brown tissue muddy patch, patch of artificial grass, pieces of pebble effect cloth etc....looks like a tapestry, it is used to enhance lots of small world play and a fun activity with lots of children involved to begin with, and they get to play with what they made :)

 

We have lots of boys at the moment into being builders, I'm thinking about purchasing the wooden construction set ( very yellow, high crane, lots of vehicles) does anyone have this and does it hold up to group play ie paint not chipping off after a couple of weeks ?

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Great idea Mouseketeer , ours love real soil and sand with diggers in the tuff spot , can't comment on wooden construction as we have found that despite wooden being preferable to plastic that often it gets stood on as we have a lot of play on the floor .

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We have enough trouble finding tractors/trailers that last more than 5 minutes, we've gone through britains, ertls, etc, again can anyone

Suggest a make that lasts and that the trailers stay on ?

Tonka?

Not lucky enough to have any at pre-school - but my own sons had a vast collection when they were 'little' - they were very sturdy - the Tonka toys not my boys - mind they were and are pretty sturdy too xD :rolleyes:

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Tonka sadly isn't what it once was. I was disappointed after paying their high price that it wasn't as robust as I remembered. I decided to just pay the lower price and use the lesson of a well-loved toy being thrown in the bin to teach about being a bit more careful. The most long-lived ones at the moment are the Bob the builder set, they have been going for years

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I cut out a large piece of cardboard to fit our tuff spots and with the help of children we covered it in different colours/textures, shiny blue river, scrunched up brown tissue muddy patch, patch of artificial grass, pieces of pebble effect cloth etc....looks like a tapestry, it is used to enhance lots of small world play and a fun activity with lots of children involved to begin with, and they get to play with what they made :)

 

We have lots of boys at the moment into being builders, I'm thinking about purchasing the wooden construction set ( very yellow, high crane, lots of vehicles) does anyone have this and does it hold up to group play ie paint not chipping off after a couple of weeks ?

Thanks for this billiant idea!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just to throw in the mix, if you add small world to your construction for example

This becomes slightly adult led not at all child initiated

Why set up a scene? it's your play then and not theirs

Just food for thought

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I think it's more about having additional equipment on hand for children to choose to use if they would like too.

I suppose in an ideal world we would have a total blank canvas and the children would direct their own play from the start.

But in a packaway setting with 30 children each session we are unable to work this way.

So we try our best with what we can do.

I think it's an interesting thought though Suer.:)

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I think small world is a great example of how children direct their own play.

Whatever is set out the children will discard, find other resources and play with it in their own way.

We often set the small world resources out the farm for instance matching animals to homes or putting two together and the children come along and add blocks, dinosaurs and then start making them cups of tea!

So in reflection just leaving the resources available and letting the children do the rest works.

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interestingly i would normally suggest the 'let them get on with it' line but not with my group this year! I have a whole load of children who do not know how to play. I am having to set up scenarios in order to get them motivated to play (if it looks inviting then they will get involved) but i am literally having to show them how to play! Give them an iphone however and they could teach me <_<

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