Our latest mini-world invitation to play has been a hit with the children 6 and under. As is usually the case, the older children love setting it up but don’t actually sit and play with it.
Epsom salts spread onto a mirror gives the impression of snow and the mirror showing through appears to be ice. I purchased a selection of miniatures that are actually terrarium decorations very cheaply on eBay and added brushes and some jewels and rocks. I later added a small sweeping brush to keep the salt off the edges of the mirror.
Epsom salts can also be added to a sensory tub for imaginative play or tipping, pouring and filling activities.
As interest wanes I’ll add a couple of extra items I’ve kept in reserve for further exploration.
The folding mirror is a new ($10 secondhand!) addition to our school area. The moment it was on the table my two daughters were found seated side-by-side in front of it drawing self-portraits as they observed themselves in it.
Children just love to watch themselves in mirrors and including one behind pretend play areas adds another dimension. There are also lots of ways to use them for symmetry activities, multiplication and art projects where being able to see behind what they are manipulating is an added stimulus. The Reggio educational approach includes mirrors in many of their classroom activities and I have a host of ideas pinned to try in the future.
We later added the bulldozer to the snow mini-world which the little boys loved, plus a Lego slide and matchbox sled made by one of the children for the rabbits to pull. I filled a salt shaker with epsom salts which allowed the children to make it snow and a variety of jewels and rocks to build onto the scene. This has probably been one of our longest lasting mini-worlds and the children are still using it most days after having had access to it for more than 3 weeks.