Are you looking for the perfect way to create a winter small world play scene? You’ve stopped at the right place for the best tips and tricks to turn a simple cardboard box into a woodland winter wonderland! Many of the natural items we used in this small world can be found right in your own backyard.
What Small World Play?
Small world play is acting out scenarios in a miniature play scene, created with small figures and objects. You can use small items found in your home or in nature. Small worlds are often set up in themes that are of interest to young children. Some popular themes are: seasonal, farm, train, beach, zoo, fairy garden, and rainforest. The possibilities are endless. Just follow your child’s interests and this activity will be a guaranteed hit!
How is Small World Play Beneficial to Learning?
There is something so magical about small world play. Those adorable little set ups instantly transport you to a whimsical world where imagination and learning meet in a playful and fun way.
Small world play…
- Supports a wide variety of language skills including building vocabulary and expressive language
- Encourages children to be creative and use their imaginations
- Encourages problem solving when working out real life situations
- Offers the opportunity for children to act out their own experiences and background knowledge
- Offers the opportunity to learn about cause and effect as they experiment with different actions, leading them to understand different outcomes
Here’s What We Used in Our Small World Play Scene:
*Please note that this small world contains some small pieces that could pose a chocking risk to young children. Don’t leave children unattended if you use small pieces in your small world.*
There are many ways to create a winter themed small world. You can start by looking at what you already have in your home, but today I’d like to highlight how to incorporate natural elements to your set up.
- Juniper Evergreen Branches (Collected from my yard)
- Tree branches (Collected from my yard)
- Pebbles (Collected from my yard)
- Wood Slices
- Acorns (Collected from my yard)
- Cardboard Box- Painted white
- White Beads (snow)
- Gem Stickers (ice)
- Foil (frozen pond)
- Animals Figures
Here’s What We Did:
Paint a cardboard box white. There was a lot of dark blue lettering on this box, so I painted 2 coats of acrylic paint.
Poke holes in the top of the cardboard box for the tree branches. I used this landscaping tool, but a screwdriver would also work well.
Set it up!
My boys helped me set up the small world play scene. First they put the evergreen branches in the holes to create a mini forest. This is great for developing hand-eye coordination!
Then they poked the tree branches through the holes and threaded white “snow” beads. My boys also added the acorns as they talked about how they fell from the tree!
They loved adding gem “icicle” stickers to the mini forest. This is great for strengthening fine motor skills!
They really enjoyed the addition of the frozen pond to the small world play area. This opened up conversations about the different animal diets and what they will be eating for dinner:)
As the play progressed, they started classifying and sorting animals. My boys grouped them in particular areas according to where the animals might live in the forest.
They moved the animals and other pieces around to make different scenes and scenarios. Some of the play was silly and fun, while other moments provided opportunities for learning and sharing their knowledge!
This small world play scene was fun to put together and has provided unlimited hours of pretend play. I plan on switching up the pieces throughout the season to keep it fresh and new!
Save it for later and Pin it!
I hope you give this small world play activity a try! I promise, your little nature lovers will love it as much as my boys.
Need more nature play activities?! Check out: