Small World: Beach Play

Whistling against the double-glazed doors, the wind howled around the garden searching for an outlet. It found its victim in the lone toy lying on the patio; the Step 2 water table, abandoned since the last warm day of Summer, rolling around the concrete slabs.

Irritating the hell out of me!

Which was the point that I summoned my husband to, "just do something with it, will you?!"

And then I glanced down at the Pinterest board that I had open displaying a plethora of play ideas. Many of them use exactly the same water table that was in danger of being outcast at that very moment. Mr. TBaM was informed to bring it in and clean it off and an idea started taking shape in my mind.

The Boy loves playing with his water table, and he loves playing at the beach. It's slightly Arctic at the moment and as much as I'm happy to chant the mantra, 'There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!', after a while it turns into a lie; it's really cold at Barry Island at this time of year!

The Boy and I (see I'm capable of the correct grammar when necessary) nipped to a pound shop earlier and picked up a bunch of fake flowers, glass pebbles, stone polished pebbles and Blu-Tack. While he was napping this afternoon, I got busy creating him his own indoor lagoon to play with.

imaginative play

I filled the top section of the water table with sand and the lower level with water, to which I added a few drops of blue food colouring. The glass pebbles in the base help to give the 'sea' more of a ripply effect and are more colourful. They're also lovely to play with in the water.

The fake flower heads were removed, as were a variety of the leaves, and I pushed the plastic stalk into a ball of Blu-Tack which adheres well to the tub and manages to withstand water splashed quite well. I covered up the base of the Blu-Tack with smaller leaves of small pebbles. The polished stones were laid around the edges of the sand to resemble rockpools, and I created a sunlounger haven in the area where the water-wheel normally stands. Finally I added his Playmobil figures in different poses.

He was over the moon when he came downstairs to play with it, and got stuck straight in making sandcastles and diving the figures into the sea.

imaginative play

This table has proven to be a great resource for the play and I've got a whole range of other ideas to try out with it. Small World play is brilliant for pre-schoolers as it allows them to make sense of the world in which they live by acting out known situations, and exploring others with safety and guidance from the supervising adult.

It helps to develop oracy, fine motor skills and the imagination. What better excuse for playing?

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