After each celebratory and special day on the calendar, I usually head to the shops to grab a bargain, a bargain to use for creative play and art. For example, after New Years Day I like to stock up on heavily discounted calendars as they come in very handy for creative experiences. See blog post titled  Recycling Calendars For Creative Play – Part 1 which can be found here and Recycling Calendars For Creative Play – Part 2 which is here. Now that Easter is nearly upon us, I have my eye on a few pieces I am hoping to add to our collection for small world play.

Last year’s Easter bargains consisted of a few pieces that were perfect for my fairy loving girl. Some bargains included small rabbits (wooden as well as soft), felt mushrooms and the tiny pink bird house featured in the play scene below.

The plastic Easter eggs that are in the shops at the moment are worth owning and can be used throughout the year for all sorts of play and learning. For example, we have  used our colourful plastic Easter eggs as part of a fairy play scape to create  mushroom houses. The base of the mushrooms featured in the photo below are the outside part of a matchbox (the part that slides off), opened out and turned on its side to hold half of a plastic egg. I also wrote about the different ways plastic eggs can be used when creating with play dough here.

Some other bits and pieces that were added to one of our small world play boxes (containing mostly items that were purchased after Easter and were on special) include: gift boxes (great way to recycle small gift boxes, just add them to your small world play box), the top of a fairy stamp that broke off (broken bits and pieces like this are great for small world play), a small plastic handbag that was part of a toy, old key rings that are no longer used and some left over pom poms from a craft project.

There are so many possibilities when it comes to setting up small world play scenes. One favourite in our house involves using our collection of textured tiles.

Textured tiles are pieces of cardboard covered in different textured yarn and fabric pieces. They are used to create all sorts of scenes – outer space, ocean, beach, mystical lands with unicorns or fairies – the possibilities are endless.

To make a texture tile out of yarn (like the pink one featured in the first two photos) it is a matter of wrapping the yarn around the cardboard piece and then securing it on the back (I use masking tape on the back).

Small world play gives children the opportunity to narrate stories and think in creative ways. Children may base stories on personal experiences, or use their imagination to create an adventure for some characters.

Children can use their creative thinking skills to problem solve and come up with alternative uses for the resources. For example, in the photo below my son opened up a fairy tin bag and used it as a boat . The base of a gift box became a tunnel into the ground and the lid was used as a magical stone. Children can transform open ended materials like a small box into so many things – it may be a vehicle, a house, a special place where treasure is hidden – once again, so many possibilities