We love small world play! Small worlds bring what you are learning about to life, and help foster imaginative play. I have planned tons of small worlds for our upcoming homeschool preschool year, but this one was purely based on one the boys favorite things right now: Knights! Both kiddos are in love with playing castle, knights, and dragons.
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With Bentley's 1st birthday right around the corner (WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN!?!), my parents gave him several of his gifts early. One of them was this amazing classic Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table. This will be our new designated sensory table for our homeschool room, so expect to see a lot of great activities in here. This activity was the first in which we used it, and can I just say that this table is PERFECT for sibling play! Especially for siblings at different ages and stages. Bentley was able to play with some of the safer materials at the bottom of the bin, while Kingston had free range and stood on the taller side which some of the non-mouthable material. It was great!
To set up this small world, I used:
Safari Ltd Knights and Dragon TOOB
Steel Cut Oats
Gemstones (from our trip to STORYLAND!)
The spot where the water wheel is supposed to go on the table was the perfect size for the little play castle, so I removed it. I placed the packing peanuts in the "moat" around the castle. In the moat I put a toy alligator and an alligator bag clip. This was actually Kingston's idea, and I loved it because the chomping alligator clip was a great fine motor work out! Then I put the steel cut oats in the large part of the table and made a rock wall along the edge. I set up the knights all over the castle, the pathway leading to the castle, and some in the oats.
The kids both dug right in. It was fascinating to see how differently they played. Kingston began coming up with elaborate play scenarios right away. He went straight for the knights and the alligators pretending that the "bad guys" were getting chomped in the water. While Bentley was enthralled with the texture of the oats, throwing them ALL over the room, and trying to eat the rocks. (This was a great time to enforce the lesson that we don't put non-food items in our mouths. Please closely supervise your littles if they are still mouthing.) He did engage in play with the knights and the dragon, but the oats and packing peanuts were the stars of the show for him!
The table really facilitated the knight play since we used it as a "kingdom". The sides of the table made for paths to get places, the different sections allowed for some phenomenal story telling, and the combining of the two sensory materials made for some serious sensory fun!
After over an hour of play, I had Kingston help me collect the packing peanuts and rocks. We counted all the different gems as we put them back in the mason jars. The rest will be left out for them to explore during the week, but I wanted to put any choking hazards away in the meantime! Stay tuned to see our amazing new homeschool room and storage area. Today was our first time test driving the convenience of the sensory section, and it worked wonderfully!
This post is part of the Small World Pretend Play Ideas from A-Z series hosted by the fabulous Still Playing School. To see all the previous posts in the series, head on over and browse. We will be contributing one more post to this series, so stay tuned for that!