We love painting our patio. Yup, around our place there is no such thing as precious. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever have a proper “grown-up” house but most of the time I love the fact that the kids can practically do anything to our backyard without worry. Our GIANT Small World sort of just happened one day when I had a boatload of paint sitting on the patio and my 3 year old wanted to spread it around with some brushes. I squeezed a bunch of paint into some trays, started rolling some of the black paint on the ground and thought, “These look like roads…” and an idea was born. My kids quickly joined me in both the planning, painting and playing. In the end this was a wonderful collaborative family design project.
Small world play is not only fun for children but it is a wonderful way to encourage creativity, problem solving, language skills, storytelling, and in the case of our GIANT version, cooperation. I also loved this as a design project for kids. As we planned our world we talked about the different features in cities: urban space, residential areas, infrastructure , and natural features. The map-like look of it was an engaging way to strike up a natural conversation about these concepts, and who knows maybe my kids will become the next generation of urban planners!
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GIANT Small World
- Chose a location in your backyard that you don’t mind painting! We used our back porch. I DO NOT recommend driveways for safety reasons unless it is inaccessible to moving cars.
- Lay out roads first using a roller brush dipped in black paint.
- Fill in the open spaces with different paint colors such as white, green and blue to mimic paved areas, water, and grass.
- Let the paint dry, then add in toys!
Tatsuya Tanaka. Artist Tatsuya Tanaka is something of a small world expert. He is a genius at seeing everyday objects in a new and hilariously scaled light as evidenced by his Instagram account and his miniature calendar project. I love that by simply adding in figures of a different scale he is able to dramatically alter the way we see objects.
Conclusion & More
We loved supersizing our small world! This project lived on our patio for few months before winter rains washed it away. The nice part is we can make it again!
If you are interested in small world play, both it’s benefits for children and more ideas here are some wonderful resources to explore:
Beginner’s Guide to Small World Play | Little Worlds, Big Adventures
Why is Small World Play Important | Teaching Mama
Building Language Skills with Small World Play | Two-daloo
15 Creative Small World Play Ideas | Lemon Lime Adventures
Small World Play Ideas | The Imagination Tree
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