Small world play has so many opportunities for learning for preschool children from story telling and increasing their understanding of the world by learning and talking about the animals, objects and habitats that they are playing with to experimenting with the properties of different materials. It is also a chance to introduce children to some rich sensory experiences. Here are some of our favourite ideas for under the sea small world play;

The Under the Sea Sand Tray

The Under the Sea Sand Tray comes with all the essentials for under the sea small world play including a tray, blue sand, shells and marine animals. The under the sea counters offer a good opportunity for practicing numeracy skills by sorting and counting.

Ocean Sensory Tray with Frozen Rice

This lovely sensory tray created on the Imagination Tree includes coloured frozen rice, shells, drift wood, toy fish and glass pebbles with a sprinkling of glitter giving plenty of interesting textures and shapes as well as hot and cold for young children to explore. The addition of cups and scoops to help with pouring, scooping and digging.

Water and Small World Play

This water tray by Mum Central includes blue coloured water, shells, stones and sand for a realistic setting for Under the Sea small world play. The water is great for making ripples and waves just like in the real sea and also discovering which objects float or sink.

A Sand Tray Treasure Hunt

Writing numbers, letters or sounds onto shells and then hiding them in a tray of sand is an interesting way to turning learning into a game and give children the opportunity to improve number and letter recognition and practice counting. Spades and perhaps buckets for collecting their treasure is all that the children will need to get started. Something to sift the sand will add another fun aspect to this activity.

Under the Sea Foam Play

Adding coloured bath foam to a tray with shells and small world play toys is not only a great sensory experience but will also allow children to experiment with mixing colours. Having a very different texture and properties to water and sand makes it a great medium for children to experiment with and well as being great for just making a mess!

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Under the Sea Natural Treasure Baskets

For very young children, a natural treasure basket offers an opportunity to explore texture. Natural resources from under the sea including pebbles, driftwood, shells and natural sponges would all make great additions for an under the sea natural treasure basket.

Under the Sea Modelling Dough

Modelling dough allows for children to get creative and make their own under the sea world using fish toys and shells. There are so many opportunities for children to learn by creating patterns by stamping the shells into the play dough and discussing how they will make their underwater world which could include caves for the creatures, seaweed and added glitter to make it sparkle!

Frozen Ocean Animal Rescue

Perhaps one of the most ingenious under the world small world play ideas that we have seen, this activity by Mumma Pappa Bubba presents children with sea creatures frozen into a bowl of coloured water. The children then had great fun rescuing the sea creatures by melting the ice with salt and water and tools for scraping and chipping the ice.

We would love to see and hear about your ideas and experiences of ‘Under the Sea’ small world play. Please share them with us in the comments below.