With the rock and pinecone collection that Gwen and I have collected on our daily strolls, I decided to create a small sensory world for her.
I chose the theme "Insects" because 1) it's totally novel for Gwen 2) she's digging up so much dirt in parks these days and noticing the insects that live underground 3) the fake insects I'd ordered from Amazon had just arrived (omg they're so realistic that I felt creeped out taking the cockroach and milipedes out.)
Insect Sensory Small World for Toddlers!
The Insect Small World Setup
- Earth - I used uncooked black rice grains.
- Rocks - They are real, from Gwen's personal collection (stashed from parks and beaches)
- Pinecones - Also Gwen's collectibles (Different pine trees have uniquely shaped pinecones, so it's fascinating to collect various types and do a comparison)
- Insects - I used fake figurine toys, namely bees, spiders, dragonflies, millipedes, centipedes, grasshoppers and butterflies.
Additional Play Considerations
To engage her senses more and extend play for longer, I included:
- Dried lavender buds to mimick scent of flowers in parks and engage her sense of smell
- A pair of tongs so she could practise picking up the fake bugs and examining them more closely like a little scientist
- A book about insects that we read often to reinforce learning
How the Play Went
Gwen was really interested to make the associations between the bugs and the images in the book. For her, it must seem like the bug suddenly came to life and became 3-dimensional.
I left her to explore the small world by herself and saw her trying to imitate the way I used the tongs. It always amazes me how fast young children learn through observation. I step in to help her hold the tongs better when she called out to me.
Gwen also picked up the different rocks repeatedly as though to compare the weights. Then she knocked them against one another to make loud thud noises and threw them onto the floor.
My rule for sensory table play is that it has to contain all the play items (i.e. not to dump contents out of it) so I reiterated the rule to her and stopped her from doing further throwing by distracting her with some crushed lavender and getting her to smell them.
This took around 10 minutes which seemed like a good time for me. I covered the sensory tubs with the IKEA flisat table covers so that I could reacquaint her with the insect small world at a later time in the day.
If you do try out an insect sensory small world with your little one, let me know how it went on my exclusive Facebook group or chat with me on Instagram!
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.