50+ Small Worlds to Inspire Play

Frequent visitors here will know how much we love pretend play or imaginative play. Our living room floor is often home to small world play and creating such invitations for dramatic play can be so simple and easy to achieve while others can take a bit of thought and preparation but all efforts result in engaged play where young children learn to tell stories, use their imaginations, develop characters and work with others. Here are more than 50 different creative small worlds to inspire some play at your house.


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50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey


50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey

Inspire the builder at your house by getting them to do some earthmoving by bringing the outside inside with this sand and rock tray from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails.

Or add some playdough to their blocks like Learn with Play at Home.

Create a city backdrop to frame your play like Adventures at Home with Mum did.

Or make some easy to make road signs to help direct their play from And Next Comes L.

50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey

Head off to space like Totally Tots

Not keen on moon sand? Print out outer space friends instead from Picklebums.

Or make a space themed sensory tub like One Perfect Day.

Or feeling creative? Make your own rocket from recycled cardboard like Se7en.

50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey

Go exploring at the bottom of the ocean like My Nearest and Dearest.

Or create a sandy salt beach like Picklebums.


50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey

Visit the farm and feed the animals like the Stay at Home Educator.

Use fabric scraps to build your farm like An Idea On Tuesday did.

Or make some story stone farm animals to play with instead.

50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey

Explore different habitats. Make a land of ice and snow to play with on hot days to cool everyone down. 

Visit the desert and explore how different animals survive in such extreme conditions like Kids Play Box.

Or create a jungle paradise like NurtureStore.

Want to play with all your animal collection? Design and make your own zoo!


50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey

For the creative amongst you, turn your child's favourite story into reality like Ikat Bag did when they created their version of the classic Faraway Tree.

Make your own rainbow world like The Imagination Tree - perfect for little ponies and many others.

Or how about this land amongst the clouds from Filth Wizardry.

Build your own treehouse for hours of play like Childhood 101.

50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey

Not much time? Keep it simple by creating an inviting background for their play. I recently used this oil painting in class as the backdrop to some farm play in class. 

Make a paper pop up world for play like Creative Play Central.

Or cheat and grab a great picture book to frame your play like My Little Bookcase has.

50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey

Bring the seasons inside. Collect those autumn leaves for play like Adventure In A Box.

Make a winter wonderland like Buggy and Buddy.

Pretend to plant ahead of the real thing in spring like Counting Coconuts.

Head to the beach in summer when the weather gets hot.

50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey

Take your play outside. Paint some rocks to prompt play like Playtivities in your sandpit or at your next trip to the beach.

Use the ordinary to create something special like our blackboard invitation.

Raining? Few children can resist a muddy puddle from Paint On The Ceiling.

Or take your kids camping like Fantastic Fun and Learning did.

50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey

Use your pretend play to retell favourite story tales like Jack and the Beanstalk from Fantastic Fun and Learning.

Or the Three Bears wouldn't be able to resist this invitation from Nurturestore.

Nursery rhymes provide plenty of inspiration too, Five Little Ducks by Jada Roo and Dyslexia Too.


50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey


I love this fairy garden from Where Imaginations Grows where gnomes are welcome too.

Stuck for space? Why not make a fairy house on a window instead like Creative Play Central.

Or make a fairy door to add to your place like Danya Banya. We made some fairy stones and wings for our play to go with our cardboard toadstool houses.

50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey

Or perhaps dinosaurs prefer to roam at your house. Set up your own dino world like Little Worlds did.

Have some fun with paper mache to make a dinosaur cave like Crayon Box Chronicles

Enrich your dinosaur play with sensory rich snowy sludge like Fun at Home with Kids or use their sticky mud recipe.

Instead of a fairy garden, plant your own dinosaur garden like Play Create Explore.

50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey

Perhaps pirates are your favourites. I'd set this invitation up at school recently.

I love using felt and this felt pirate mat by Juggling With Kids looks very inviting.

One of my favourite Early Years teacher's loves pirates too. Make sure you visit Stimulating Learning with Rachel.

And where there are pirates, there are sure to be mermaids. The Imagination Tree always creates the most inspiring invitations to play.

Make your own mermaid lagoon like Small Potatoes did. I know I'll be having a look at the aquarium accessories next visit to the pet shop!

50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey

Princess play? How about making this felt castle from smallworldland.

Or do you have some Frozen fans? Try these DIY peg dolls and cardboard castle to inspire their play.

Make your own simple dolls house that folds flat when the play is finished for easy storage.

Or use a wooden rainbow stacker to make a house. My youngest loves using our Grimm's Large Rainbow Stacker in her pretend play.

50+ Pretend Play Spaces to Inspire Play | you clever monkey

Use pretend play to visit other places. Perhaps head off to your local art gallery without leaving home like No Time For Flashcards.

Or maybe you prefer a good library or bookshop? Reuse packaging to inspire play like Reciclando en la Escuela.

Why not plan a trip to the circus? I love this DIY circus from smallworldland.

Or perhaps create space sure to inspire the artist in everyone. Smallworldland also created this truly beautiful miniature version of Monet's garden.







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6 comments

  1. Fab post - I love small world play!
    Thank you for including my pirates play!
    - Rachel (",)

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    Replies
    1. My pleasure Rachel :) I'm often inspired seeing inside your classroom and loved your pirate play week.

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  2. We're entering the small-world stage at ours! We made a dinosaur one- so many ideas here to give a go! Awesome round-up x

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Shannon :) Mine all love their small world play and it's great way for mixed ages to play together to.

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  3. What an amazing round up! So many great ideas I don't even know where to start. I keep staring at the library one, it's a work of art!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Ann :) I feel the same way about the library one. If you get a chance, have a look at their marketplace/whole town made from recycled materials - just amazing!

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