What is small world play?

What is small world play?

You may have asked yourself what is small world play anyway? but, the reality is you will already know, and if your child is anything like mine, you'll have spent many an afternoon immersed in small world play. 

In short, small world play is the acting out of real life or imaginary scenarios using figures, loose parts and other objects such as toys designed for this type of play or simply house hold items or objects from nature (pine cones for trees and loo roll tubes for tunnels etc). Children are naturally drawn to this type of play and it can often be themed around their interests, such as farms, or a Dino jungle...imagination is key when thinking about set ups.

At it's heart, like all play you don't need to invest huge amounts, we rely on some much loved peg people and use all sorts of other items from around the house and garden when we play like this. There are also some brands who sell wonderful items that can be cherished and used for years....as well as actually looking nice in your home. 

The benefits of small world play speak for themselves and I have highlighted some key benefits below;

Understanding the world, and their place in it;

By acting out scenarios that they have experienced, or have thought about your child can make real sense of their world and the people in it. It's also a great way to allow them to talk through situations and emotions they may have been in.

Social skills and conflict resolution;

When a child takes on the role of a character it can allow them to express themselves more freely or as an alternative version of their usual persona, this can have great benefit to the language development. When children play this way together it can also put them into situations where they have to collectively solve a problem or have to compromise through turn taking, all of these are valuable skills to develop.


The creativity is not just in the narrative of the play but also in the building, whilst you may get involved in the set ups at some point children use their own imagination to build their worlds. When they achieve the vision they had, using the tools available it can bring great confidence and pride to them which is such a wonderful thing to witness. 

I have brought together some of my favourite pieces from our collection that we use regularly in small world play, but remember things from around your home and garden are always great to have on hand and collecting useful things on walks is also a great extension of this play.

Baby Nins 

baby nins

Woodland Animals

woodland animals

Lubu Town

We hope we've answered some of your questions about what small world play is, remember to get in touch if you want any further information here.


Leave a comment