Mini Playscapes – Small World – Space Explorer

eyfs - toddler - preschool - pre-k - sensory play- messy play - rice play - small world - playscape - playscene - learning through play - play matters - space - spaceman - astronaut- solar system - moon - planets

Playscape

Children make sense of the world around them through play. Their world is replayed through taking part in everyday self-care activities, roleplay and small world. Observing play tells us a lot about what they have learnt and are currently learning. New experiences are exciting, yet can often be scary for little ones. Using small world scenes is a way of introducing children to new places and experiences in a way they feel safe and comfortable allowing them to explore at their own pace. Space Play up this week!

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This week we’ve visited the National Space Centre in Leicester. We weren’t sure how much Floss would enjoy it as she’s only 2, but with the nights getting darker she’s become more interested in the stars and the moon. She thoroughly enjoyed our morning out and learnt lots of new vocabulary that she wanted to use when we got home. We ordered a space set of figurines to help with small world play in this new area of interest and the scene has been out all week with lots of play! It’s incredible to see how much learning happens by taking trips like this and then reinforcing the play with props afterwards. 

For the play set up we used black beans with Tiny Land Rice (use BUSY10 for 10% off) to make the space scene. Putting star cutters into the tray first, filling the beans around it and then filling the cutters with yellow rice gave lovely star shapes when the cutters were removed.

Space Scenery and Characters

Prompts

  • Would you like to travel to another planet?
  • What are stars made of?
  • How long would it take you to walk to the moon?
  • What would you need to pack to travel to another planet and why?

Brilliant Space Books

eyfs - toddler - preschool - pre-k - sensory play- messy play - rice play - small world - playscape - playscene - learning through play - play matters - space - spaceman - astronaut- solar system - moon - planets
A board book which introduces lots of simple vocabulary associated with space. It’s inspired by Astronaut Tim Peake and his two sons. The children say goodnight to their space toys and are then whisked off for an out of this world dream. This one has an age suitability of 2-5 years, but could easily be used for younger children.
eyfs - toddler - preschool - pre-k - sensory play- messy play - rice play - small world - playscape - playscene - learning through play - play matters - space - spaceman - astronaut- solar system - moon - planets
Another board book, interactive with lots of peep holes and flaps with information all about space and what it’s like to travel into space. Age suitability from 3 years, but it depends on your little one. Floss is 2 and loves it. 
eyfs - toddler - preschool - pre-k - sensory play- messy play - rice play - small world - playscape - playscene - learning through play - play matters - space - spaceman - astronaut- solar system - moon - planets
Floss really enjoys this one as the pictures are real photographs. She likes to match up her small world figurines with pictures in the book. The wording is more for infants/ juniors rather than toddlers.

When They’re Ready Phonics

Lots of early phonics learning is about hearing the sounds in words. Getting children to hear the syllables in words helps them to be able to segment words into smaller chunks and identify phonemes (sounds) more easily. Clapping out space words is a fun game you can play with little ones to help them become more aware of how words can be split; this will support spelling. We’ve got some flashcards that we are using mainly for pictures right now, but you could detach the word from the image and play a matching game using phonics.

When They’re Ready Maths

Counting Backwards – Space travel gives the perfect opportunity for counting backwards. We’ve been counting backwards from 5 to 1 and then blast off/ lift off. This involves Floss holding onto the rocket, us all counting and then a whoosh followed by an attempt at a jump! You could start at any number you like for your count down. We’ve also been singing the songs Zoom Zoom Zoom we’re Flying to the Moon and 5 Little Men in a Flying Saucer for counting too. SumBlox numbers have been in action for our backwards counting too.

Change It Up!

Using playdough you can make a planet or a moon to sit in the middle of your tray with ‘space’ around it. You can have moon landings with moon rover deployments and planet orbiting by spacecrafts. 

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