Sicily is hit or miss with small worlds. Sometimes she really engages and story lines start to appear. Other times she does her own thing, and it doesn’t even relate to the small world.
That was what happened with our zoo small world!
During our zoo toddler theme, I had set up a small world before actually taking the trip to the zoo.
I used a jungle little people set up for the jungle area of the zoo where I put the tiger, lion, and jaguar. For the polar animals, I used a white box lid, a white rock as an iceberg, and blue foam for the water. I had a small container with holes for the birds. All the other cages I made out of Lincoln Logs.
I set the zoo up, and let her explore. She has had plenty of experience with animals, so I thought I would have seen some animal play and interaction.
WRONG! She went to her standby play activity for the past few months of lining everything up. She had no interest in the actual zoo set up. She took all the animals, lined them up, and walked them an inch. When she got to the end of the line, she went back to the beginning and moved them an inch more.
A few days later, we took a trip to the zoo. I figured now that she had been to the zoo and had the background knowledge, she would interact differently with the small world. So I set it up again.
WRONG! She pulled all the animals back out to continue walking in a line.
Even though she didn’t interact with this small world as I had hoped, she still got experience with patience when the animals wouldn’t stand on the carpet, hand-eye coordination, pre-classification skills.
Small worlds are great for early literacy skills. They prepare children for being able to comprehend plots and be able to write their own stories.