Hello, I am Renee from Adventures at Home with Mum. I am passionate about children learning through play, especially outdoor play and imaginative pretend play, and if you are a regular around this corner of the blogosphere you might remember the Outdoor Play Space: Pirate Hide Away that I shared last year.
In Australia we are slowly seeing some sun after a long, cold winter and for my kids this brings much excitement and more outdoor time. Dimples and Miss Cherub have lots to keep them busy in our back yard, including our Mud Kitchen, the outdoor Music Station and more. They are always happy and at peace in the world when they are free to explore the outdoors and that’s why I believe it’s important to create a stimulating and fun outdoor area that sparks their imagination with endless play opportunities.
A couple of years ago we created this Magical Gnome Garden that was well and truly loved by Dimples and his playmates and now that Miss Cherub is old enough to venture out into the yard we thought it was time to add to it. Excitedly this time we have added elements to inspire small world play, so there are now even more opportunities for pretend play in it!
It was very easy to do and is an idea that can be so easily adapted for yards of all sizes – you can make a small world in a garden bed or a recycled tyre or you can designate an entire corner of the yard. All you need is a space, a collection of little bits and pieces and an imagination.
In our Magical Gnome Garden we have a tree stump painted with a fairy door on the face of it, some solar lights and mushroom statues and some decorative gnomes and smurf toys for the kids to play with. Decorative stones make a visible pathway, an area filled with water makes a fun miniature lake and a small string with some small pegs on it becomes a clothes line perfect for gnomes. Decorative windmills brighten the area and wind chimes hanging from the tree make the area sound magical in the breeze. We have added shell grit that looks like a beach area and often Dimples lays down a wash cloth as a picnic rug for the little people. It’s truly magical!
Why create an outdoor small world for a child to play in? Well of course any outdoor play is beneficial but small world play has many benefits, including;
- Promoting connections with the outdoors and nature
- Promoting creative thinking
- Encouraging independent play
- Building imagination
- Sensory and tactile stimulation
- Developing story telling skills
- Aiding vocabulary development
- Encouraging role-play where the child can re-enact real life scenarios or familiar experiences
- Providing parents with an opportunity to join the games in an open relaxing area or to just watch their children’s imaginations and happiness during playtime.
Happy small world adventures!
Renee is an Australian stay at home Mum to Dimples (5) and Miss Cherub (1.5), and the author of the fun blog, Adventures at Home with Mum. She loves sharing playful ways for children to enjoy themselves and learn during the early years with a little bit of everything on her blog from messy sensory play and extreme paint to active and outdoor fun. Renee has a Psychology degree and various study attainments in childcare, personality development and effective parenting. She wishes to work with children in the future but for now she is enjoying watching her children grow and learn while she shares their adventures on her website. You can also follow Adventures at Home with Mum on Facebook or Pinterest.
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