Small world play – educational activities for home schooling

Many of us find ourselves in a very different situation as 2021 rolls out it’s wintery weather. Following a Christmas unlike any other and facing months at home can be daunting, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we can learn to adapt and make the most of the time indoors with our families. There are endless learning opportunities and ways to get creative with our children, providing a brilliant opportunity for quality family time.

As we get used to another term of lockdown, you don’t need to look too far for ideas to fill your children’s time. Given a few materials and tools, your little ones can have hours of fun using their imagination and creativity to play endless games, and in doing so they are learning as they would at school… through play.

Small World Play- Mixies Sand

Kids absolutely love to make their own tiny worlds for role-playing and games. All you need is a large tray of any kind and a base for the toys/props. The ideal base would be our fabulous range of Mixies Sands, which comes in 8 different themes, from Fairyland to Construction, and Ocean to Space. You can have fun with you child by scouting indoors for figurines and toys that will make up your scene, and then take the hunt outside and root around for natural props in the garden or on your walk, things like sticks, pebbles, feathers and fir cones. Anything goes really!

Now you’ve made your small world, be it a dinosaur landscape with tissue-paper molten lava, or a forest full of woodland creatures and a yogurt-pot pond set in the middle, you can play any number of games. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • Discovery game – Hide small items in the sand and let your child gently uncover them using a dry paint brush
  • Sorting game – Count how many stones there are, then put them in order “Which is the biggest stone” “Which pebble is the darkest?”
  • Memory game – Ask your child to close their eyes and remove one item, then ask them “Which one is missing?”
  • Letters game – Use letters in the sand to match with items you have “F is for Frog”
  • Habitat game – Talk to your child about the environment and which creatures might live there “Is is hot and sunny?” “Do they live in water?”
  • Marking game – Simply draw letters and number in the sand and ask your child to sound them out or copy them
  • Sensory game – Ask you child to close their eyes and ask them to feel for items in the tray “describe how it feels” “Is it soft or hard?” “Smooth or rough?” “Warm or cold?”

The Benefits of Play

It may just feel like playtime with your child, but for both adults and kids alike the benefits of learning through play are numerous. Not only does it help develop kids social and communication skills and creativity, but it encourages their problem-solving abilities and logical thinking. Not only that, but play is proven to help alleviate stress in us grown-ups too. It’s a win win situation!