The Wonders of a Mini World

6 October 2017, Joanna Lodge

Can you remember what it was like when you were a child? Everything was miniature, right? All the toys were scaled down, from train tracks and toy cars to doll’s houses. Well, with a little imagination you can turn that miniature world into an enthralling wonderland. Fairy gardens, enchanted castles, grand prix race tracks… there really is no end to the opportunities available.

Creating mini worlds enables a range of learning skills and ideas, from design to implementation, through to storytelling and academic learning if that’s your desire!

And you’re not limited to indoor or outdoor play. In fact, the garden lends itself beautifully to being manipulated into incredible spaces that will capture your children’s imaginations for hours on end.

Think about creating a mini world? There’s no one item or resource you need, except some time and some imagination. Here’s what to think about before you get going.

  • First things first: what are you going to build? A castle with a moat, a village, a troll town? A seaside, a forest or a mangrove? All are possible. Or go nuts and simply collect some bits and pieces and see what comes from it.
  • Think about scale! You can do a whole city, or just one garden!
  • What do you have available to make the mini world from? Pebbles, plants, toy cars, lego pieces, beans and pulses, rice, fake grass, fabrics, old towels, junk modelling? This is an inexpensive and exciting activity that doesn’t need any money spent on it to make it work.
  • If you have older children, they can be a part of the creation and design; younger children will build, play and use the space but don’t expect it to stay as you created it!
  • Think of a ground medium you would like to use. Sand, soil, water, turf, paper, pebbles, silver foil?
  • Consider the levels and layers you want to add to your world. Are there hills and mountains? How can you make these with what you have? Hills can be from soil mounds or cardboard bases painted brown and green.
  • Does it have to stay a hill or could it turn into a space creators or change streams into deep glacial crevasses?
  • Do you want movement in your world? Can you include some sort of wind power or water movement? A watermill, or wind turbine?
  • Finally, try to envisage how your children will play with it. Is it a changeable space? Can your kids dig and build, can they drive cars, or care for animals? You could provide the materials and let them go nuts, or simply plant the seed as an idea… and see what the afternoon delivers.

If you have a small paddling pool or tray, a sandpit or flower pot, a space in your lawn or a sink, all are possible mini worlds with the right input and creativity.

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