Imagine your busy preschooler playing with farm animals, construction equipment and ocean critters…all in the comfort of your own home. Before you visualize a chaotic living room turned upside down, check out these 11 incredible small world settings that offer a perfect combination of creativity and energy-burning play.
Photo: Jackie Currie via Happy Hooligans
A Building Bonanza
We have yet to come across a preschooler who isn’t obsessed with construction and big machinery at some point along the way. Let them be the foreman on the job with a bin filled with anything from sand to rocks to jellybeans or little people— whatever they feel like moving from one pile to another! One look at the version Jackie of Happy Hooligans created and you’ll be digging through the toy bin to make your own.
Photo: Asia Citro via Fun at Home with Kids
Fun on the Farm
Our list wouldn’t be complete without a shout-out to small world master, Fun at Home with Kids creator Asia Citro. She’s got a seriously amazing arsenal of ideas and imaginary worlds, all you have to do is pick your favorite. We’re partial to her Fun on the Farm layout because from the mini pins filled with sensory materials to the duck pond, this is the one they’ll come back to … over and over again. For a list of what you’ll need, and other inspiring ideas, head over to Fun at Home with Kids.
Photo: Chelsey Marashian via Buggy and Buddy
It’s a Winter Wonderland
Cotton Ball? Check. Playdoh? Check. Toothpicks and toilet paper rolls? Check. Small worlds don’t have to be elaborate to be entertaining. This whimsical Winter Wonderland from Buggy and Buddy proves that sometimes, you’ve already got most of what you need to enter an imaginary world of play. For a complete list of supplies, head over to Buggy and Buddy.
Photo: Shaunna Evans via Fantastic Fun and Learning
Visit Dino Island
For fossil fans, having their very own Land Before Time is a must. Even if you don’t have a water table handy, it’s child’s play to re-create the different prehistoric terrains thought up by Shaunna over at Fantastic Fun and Learning. This small world is so imaginative, your older kids may mozey on over for a chance to engage in an epic battle: T-Rex vs. Stegosaurus! Head over to Fantastic Fun and Learning for tips and tricks.
Photo: MaryLea Harris via Pink and Green Mama
It’s a Zoo Out There
Animal classification never looked so good. The pile of animal figurines collecting dust will get a serious workout when you create a Zoological wonder world; let them decide where each home should be, and watch them spend the afternoon as the teeniest (and happiest!) zookeepers in existence. We love the version created by Pink and Green Mama, pop on over for tips and tricks.
Photo: Ann Maes via Little Worlds
A Day at the Shore
A beach day doesn’t have to be followed by an hour of cleaning sand out of every (and we do mean every) little crevice. We are falling head over heels for this beach scene scooped out over at Little Worlds. From dolphins to penguins to a family picnicking, there’s no end to the possibilities of play. Now, the question is— are you up for crafting the world’s smallest sand castle? Surf over to Little Worlds for the tutorial.
Photo: Shaunna Evans via Fantastic Fun and Learning
The Great Outdoors
So you didn’t get a chance to pitch a tent this summer. Scratch their outdoor itch with a totally awesome camping world complete with tent and campfire treats. Another fabulous creation from Fantastic Fun and Learning, we couldn’t resist the teeny, tiny marshmallows and swimming hole! Don’t you just love roughing it? Hike on over to Fantastic Fun and Learning for tips and tricks.
Photo: Kelly Burstow via Be a Fun Mum
Lights of the City
This small world engages your preschooler from start to finish. Put the design in their hands with a blank city-scape and they’ll be able scout the route from school to the library to home and more! Find out how to make stop signs and other fun additions over at Be a Fun Mum.
Photo: Lisette Martin via Where Imagination Grows
Fun with Forest Friends
Anyone can make a small world, and with almost anything. Those lentils you just never got around to cooking? Serves as the perfect mossy meadow floor for your kiddo’s stash of forest friends. We love the version found over at Where Imagination Grows.
Photo: Danya Banya via Danya Banya
Under the Sea
There’s nothing as mysterious or as captivating to a preschooler than the ocean. After all, Ariel has made her appearance in the princess rotation by now and every fish in sight (even goldfish crackers) has been re-named Nemo. Satisfy the water wonder with an under the sea small world. We love the one crafty mama Danya Banya whips up for her underwater explorers. Since it includes real water, this one is perfect for hot summer afternoons. Find out how she gets it done over at Danya Banya.
Photo: Heather Johansen via Crayon Chronicles
This small world is one of the best we’ve seen. Inspired by her heritage, mom and Crayon Chronicles crafter Heather opened up a world of imagination for her little guy. From the vibrant Teepee designs to the wild animals and tribe members, introduce your own kids to the rich culture of Native Americans by following her step-by-step tutorial.
Which Small World will you create for your preschooler? Share with us in a Comment below!
— Gabby Cullen