How old should my child be before I start small world play?
The answer to this really depends on a few things. Is you child likely to try and ‘mouth’ items provided? Are they able to sit unaided? Are the toys suitable for your child’s stage of development? Has your child shown an interest in imaginary play?
We started Zoey on small world play when she was 12 months old. In the beginning, we only used Fisher Price Little People (which are suitable from 12 months). She showed a real interest in imaginary play over the coming months so we proceeded to using rice, lentil and other items as a base – we also knew that she was past the stage of putting everything in her mouth!
Is small world play safe for my toddler?
As with any activity that you decide to do with your toddler, keep them supervised at all times. Don’t use items that they are likely to choke on and try to use toys that are age appropriate.
I want to give small world play a try, how do I choose the themes?
Really, I just follow Zoey’s lead. If she’s been obsessing over her Little People farm, then i’ll relate the theme accordingly or if we’ve just visited the zoo, then i’ll create a small world based around our trip. The best thing to do is use this as a guide, but go with what your little one is interested in.
What kind of foods could I use?
Rice, lentils, flour cocoa and even Froot Loops have made their way into our small worlds. I never buy products specifically: it’s usually just what needs using up in the kitchen! If you want to make coloured rice, click here. If you have any concerns over choking or if your toddler is always putting things in their mouths, please bank these activities for a later date.
Food and play seems like a lot of mess, why should I create small worlds for my little one?
Small world play helps both imagination and creativity. The act of moving the animals and people around whilst using a ‘voice’ is a fantastic way of developing language skills. For Zoey this is simply learning animal names and making their noise, but in time she will act out whole conversations from the perspective of the people or animals in her small worlds.
What toys can I use in small worlds?
Plastic toys that are easy to wash are best. Our absolute favourites are the Collecta animals from Oh Ivy. They’re durable, realistic and also ‘softer’ than competitors, making then perfect for toddlers. We’ve also used Little People, HappyLand and Star Wars characters!