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Small world play

Two three year olds are playing with some blocks and small world toys in the nursery classroom. One girl has built a small house for the toys to live in. They negotiate about who will play with the favourite toy. They use their imaginations to build up roles for the small world characters.

Good for looking at

  • Pretend play
  • Imaginary play
  • Socialising
  • Emotional development
  • Speech, language and communication
  • Fine motor skills
  • Negotiation
  • Materials
  • Effective provision


  • What cues can you see that show what the children are interested in? (Look out for non-verbal and body language as well as spoken language)
  • How are the children learning?
  • Which areas of development, engagement and characteristics of learning can you observe?
  • How does the environment and the materials provided support the children’s learning?