Small world play provides young children the chance to tell stories on a smaller scale.
It allows them to explore their knowledge, extend a learning theme in the classroom or at home, and practice their language skills. Today, I’m sharing a super simple insect small world the kiddos can delve into!
Related: Insect science activities for preschoolers
Easy Insect Small World Play for Kids
Materials we used
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White navy beans
Hermit crab hideouts
Insect Toob animals
Setting up the insect small world play
To create this insect small world, I hunted around for things I already had on-hand. I like reusing and re-purposing materials for playing and learning. This definitely held true here!
I decided to use white navy beans for the foundation of the insect small world, as I thought the color would set everything off well. On top of that, kids love running their hands through beans, and the beans make a great sound when poured or dropped.
Related: Bee Sensory Bottle
We had a few sticks leftover from when we made beaded sticks, so those worked their way in there. I’d used wooden Hermit crab hideouts in a fairy small world, as well as random other bins, in the past. They just look cool, and children seem to enjoy the texture of them.
Finally, the insects were added. My son has been on a praying mantis kick lately, so he made sure that was added first. Then the bee and the fly. We could have put more insects in there, but we wanted to keep it simple.
Related: Simple Pond Sensory Play Idea
How to play with this insect small world
That’s the beauty of it – there is no right or wrong way! I’ve used a setup similar to this with different groups of children. Here are just a few things they’ve done:
- Used the sticks to mix up the beans and make “insect soup”.
- Played a game of hide and seek with the insects.
- Created super involved stories about the insects – for example, the fly’s wings were hurt and he couldn’t fly, so the bee and the mantis took care of him in a special insect hospital.
Related: Spring Activities for Preschoolers
I really love how small worlds are centered around open-ended play. They can be vehicles to retelling (or making up) stories, they can be used to promote sensory play, etc. etc. etc! How would your kiddos explore this insect small world?
Insect Theme Lesson Plans for Preschool
Save time planning with done-for-you early childhood resources! Our insect lesson plans come with printable plans, a range of hands-on activities (for whole group, small group, and centers), book suggestions, and coordinating printables.
Get your insect lesson plans now
Also available on Teachers Pay Teachers
Even More Small World Play
This post is part of Still Playing School’s Small Worlds from A to Z series! There are so many small world ideas being shared, so be sure to check it out!
I love the real nature thrown in – insects would be very happy here! 😉 And that bug hospital is too sweet!
Love that you used real wood in this small world! Perfect!