Small world play is one of my favorite ways to reinforce learning concepts with my preschoolers, and small worlds are also wonderful for younger learners just experimenting with pretend play. The latest small world I created for my toddler (25 months) is based on his favorite book, Roadwork by Sally Sutton.
I’ve had the opportunity to participate in the Small World A-Z series by Still Playing School. Some of the most talented bloggers have joined together to participate in this series, giving some of the most creative small worlds I’ve ever seen! Be sure to check out the link at the end of this post.
Materials for “Roadwork” small world
- sensory tub or sand table
- kinetic sand
- small construction toys
- traffic signs
- the book Roadwork by Sally Sutton
The set up
Begin by filling your sensory tub with kinetic sand. I used a two pound bag and that was enough to lightly cover the under-the-bed storage tote I use for a sensory bin. I used kinetic sand because I wanted the sand to hold it’s shape for a bit, but I didn’t want wet sand in my house. Kinetic sand was the perfect solution. Then I added the construction toys and traffic signs.
Roadwork small world play
I invited Kent to read the book Roadwork with me. It didn’t take any convincing since it is his favorite book. It has been well loved and has been taped back together on multiple occasions.
After reading the book though a couple of times, (because one time is never enough for Kent), I showed him the small world and said, “Look! Roadwork!” He promptly got to playing, but not without his book as a companion.
Just like in the book, Kent began clearing way for a new road. He pushed the sand with the bulldozer, scooped it with the excavator and hauled it away with the dump truck. He packed the sand using the steam roller and planted trees and bushes. He was making a road, and as he worked I heard him attempt to say the onomatopoeias used in the book.
But what I enjoyed the most about watching Kent play in his Roadwork inspired small world was that he was attempting to read the book as he played. He would turn the pages and look at the pictures to guide him of what to do next. He matched the construction toys with the pictures.
This was easily one of our favorite small worlds. I loved watching Kent play out a story book he has treasured and loved (and stolen from his older brother, as it was originally William’s book). This small world offered Kent a safe was to experiment with pretend play, something he is doing more and more of. He also demonstrated some print awareness and emergent reading skills as he turned each page to play out the content of the book, showing that he understands that books tell stories. This will be a small world we return to with frequency.
Other books similar to Roadwork
If you don’t have the book Roadwork by Sally Sutton, no worries. Here are some other books that are similar that would also work with this small world. (But Sally Sutton books are our favorite…and no, this post is not sponsored. We just love her books!)
A-Z Small World Series
Don’t forget to check out all the other A-Z small worlds from the beginning of the alphabet to the end! Click on the photo below to be taking to the landing page with the entire collection!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.