Republished from archived blog Polliwog and Flutterbys October 2012
There is a popular form of play called small world play. It is very common across the ocean but here in the US we seem to forget about it in the classroom. As teachers many of us pile up the animals, figures, and little world props in manipulative bins. But it is a missed opportunity when we do such. If we took those materials and staged little worlds for the children we are essentially setting up a platform for major learning. By attracting children to a small world filled with scenery, figurines, and related play props we are inviting them to be social with others, to expand their language skills, to use their imagination, to move things with their hands (which enhances fine motor skills necessary for writing), and to open themselves up to becoming storytellers or project collaborators. So take those lego guys out of the bins, the mini animals, the little dolls, the cars, and other small play props and design a eye catching world for the children to engage with. It will be well worth the time and I think you will be pleasantly surprised to see what the children do there.