How to Create A Small World Invitation Using a Blackboard

How to use a chalk board to create a small world invitation to encourage play at your house or classroom.

Small world pretend play is one of our favourite ways to play.


Perfect for encouraging creativity and imaginative play in children. It's also the ideal type of play for children of mixed ages, making it a great choice for home or the classroom.

As a teacher, I know it's a fantastic way to build their vocabularies and storytelling abilities whilst learning social cues and turn taking during play.

As both parent and teacher, I also want to encourage my children to see the possibility that lies in most everyday objects. 

That why I created this invitation to play using our blackboard. 


This post contains affiliate links.
How to Create A Small World Invitation Using a Blackboard - turn your chalkboard into an inviting place for some pretend play | you clever monkey


One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab

I love using books in my classroom and there are so many picture books that are perfect for other areas like Maths.

The book One Is a Snail, Ten is a Crab: A Counting by Feet Book is a great example of this and is ideal for building number sense and starting skip counting.

It's such a great book with beautifully bright illustrations, many different number uses and a sense of humour making it a great read aloud book for all ages.  

This post contains affiliate links.


One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab - exploring number in the classroom using the picture book 'One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab'



Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Literacy Centres - Hands-On Ideas For Learning

These literacy work station ideas will provide you with plenty of inspiration, save you time and help you plan meaningful learning experiences for the children in your care.

Are you looking for quality literacy resources to engage children during your literacy work stations? 


Looking for ideas for Daily 5 Word Work? 


Literacy centres or literacy centers (if you live in other parts of the world) are a perfect way to have young children practice those early literacy concepts that have already been taught in class. One of my mentor teachers used literacy centres regularly in her classroom and the children were throughly engaged. Since then I've used centres in each classroom I've been in. 


You can see our other posts herehere and here. Not just for class, some of these literacy activities can easily been done at home to help your child learn to read and write.



This post contains affiliate links.

Literacy Centre Ideas - hands-on literacy center activities perfect for 5-8 years | you clever monkey

Hot Weather Play

Finding activities for three different aged children in the middle of summer after days of inside play can be challenging. This whole week has been hot, really hot - 45C and above so too hot for us to be outside even in the shade. This activity was the perfect hot weather invitation to play!


Are you following us on Pinterest?

Hot Weather Invitation to Play - the perfect summertime invitation to play outside. Two different small worlds to create at home to encourage children to play outdoors this Summer! Perfect to mixed ages | you clever monkey

Make believe play at risk?

Make believe play is big with my kids.  Whenever the three of them are together, there's usually some plan, some story, they are deeply involved in.  Sometimes I make suggestions, sometimes I don't and I'm finding I'm making less as they become more adept at negotiating their own stories between them.  The house is often turned upside down while they repurpose items for their play and I'm more than okay with that. 





I had written a piece for uni about imaginative play in early childhood  (here's the link if you haven't read it).  It's pretty dry.  I found this post much more interesting reading from NAEYC.  It still talks about how research has provided more evidence of the benefits well developed play has on different areas of child development like social skills and self regulation but on emerging mathematical thinking and early mastery of literacy concepts as well.  It also provides a useful table showing the progression through the five different stages in a child's make believe play.

For me, one of the most interesting points made was that the play skills our children had previous learnt from older 'play experts' during multiage group play was now needing to be taught by teachers or learnt from behaviours modelled by teachers. That today's early childhood settings segregate children by age, leaving children interacting with play partners who are typically at the same stage in their play rather than being able to observe and imitate older playmates more expert at play.


'Explicit play instruction is often limited to the context of special education.  While children with language delays or emotional disorders are thought to benefit from play interventions, children without such delays or disorders are usually expected to develop play skills on their own. This approach, while valid in the past, can no longer be adopted if we want all young children to develop mature play. Massive changes in the culture of childhood—such as the disappearance of multiage play groups, the increase in time children spend in adult-directed activities after school, and so on—mean that, for many young children, early childhood settings are the only place where they have the opportunity to learn how to play.'


This has left me wondering, are the play skills of Australian children today not reaching these higher levels of pretend play in preschool?  Generally, our settings are different than in the US and I think most early childhood teachers scaffold pretend play in the ways described in the article but I have seen the push of academics down into early childhood here too along with children participating in more organised activities than ever before. 

Or can a child, who has participated in play with older siblings or other children regularly in settings such as playgroups and kindergym, still help to co-ordinate more mature play amongst their peers?  I guess that will still depend on the individual child. 

From my own experience, I have certainly noticed that my youngest more regularly initiates play with her older siblings now than ever before and is no longer just a passenger, she will input things to direct their play as well.  She is also the most confident and willing participant at preschool I've had so far.

What are your thoughts?  Is mature pretend play amongst our children at risk ?








An invitation to play

A few weeks ago I saw a pin  from another blog that made me say 'Wow' out loud.   I know, right? It was an idea so simple, I'm not sure why I hadn't thought of it before.

I'm always looking for different sensory materials for play. Ones that can be kept and reused easily, ones that don't always use food, ones that can be cleaned up easily. 

We've tried lots of different mediums....



There's been all the obvious ones - plenty of sand, water


An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/


and, of course, mud

An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/

and even more mud :)

An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/







There's been paint





shaving cream paint,

An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/

shaving cream with ice,

An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/

snow in summer,


cloud dough  (lovely stuff but don't add water unless you're done with it),

An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/

playdough play,

An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/

An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/

plenty of rice (sometimes plain, sometimes rainbow coloured),


An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/

pulses and seeds in the kitchen,

An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/

reactions and smells,

An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/

paper - plain,

An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/

and sticky.

An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/


We've played with goop, water beads (oh soooo bouncy), cornflour and shaving cream, glass beads, salt, moon sand, bubble wrap, paint on foil, the list goes on.

But it's winter time here and something that doesn't get everyone soaked but will get them outside for awhile is perfect.  This was their newest invitation to play -



An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/


An invitation to play.  To see more on this and many other ways to play visit http://youclevermonkey.blogspot.com.au/


 A big bag of wild bird seed - perfect for winter play.  For mixing, measuring, pouring, for running through your fingers and then sweeping up for the birds.

I liked this pin too but might need longer to collect enough beads!

It's from a fantastic site full of sensory tub ideas for play.  Visit rubber boots and elf shoes to see more.

And if you're not sure why sensory play is important, read this great post by Not Just Cute.

If you are looking for other sensory play ideas, visit my Pinterest board - Sensory Play


What other sensory materials have you used at home or in a classroom with great success?






© you clever monkey

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Professional Blog Designs by pipdig