Rosie is a Dora the Explorer fanatic! Her imagination is just starting to take off, and I am constantly looking for ways to encourage and foster imaginative play. We recently bought her a Dora the Explorer busy book, which came with figurines of the main characters from the show. Rosie loves acting out conversations and scenes with them. As a way to further encourage her imaginative process, I sought to create a Dora the Explorer Small World using the figurines.
Dora the Explorer Small World Play
I created the small world in a clear plastic storage bin so that we could easily store it, and get it out when Rosie wanted to play with it. My original thought was to use dirt for the base, but I used thistle seed because we already had some on hand. It worked great! Once I covered the bottom of the storage bin with the seed, I spread floral moss on top to act as the grass. I used palm tree party toothpicks that I found at Party City. They made perfect trees. I then added a variety of other plants and flowers, all of which I found at Michaels arts and crafts store in the floral section. Basically, I just looked for things that I thought would make the small world look like a scene from the show.
The busy book came with a floor mat in addition to the figurines. I hung it on the wall behind the small world in hopes of further extending Rosie's play. Our little Dora fan had gotten a Dora the Explorer Backpack Rescue Bag for Christmas, and it made a great addition as well!
I filled the backpack with different items for Rosie to explore with. In the show, Dora turns to her backpack for tools to help her along the way. I wanted to recreate that here. One of Rosie's Dora books came with a music player, so I included that along with a magnifying glass, Dora bracelet, a dry erase marker, a small bowl, and a few Dora bubble wands that could act as diggers. Once I had the play space set up, it was time to show Rosie!
Rosie immediately ran over, and grabbed the back pack! She loves her backpack. When she first got it, she wouldn't take it off.
She was so excited by all the things inside. I told her those were all things for her to use to help Dora along the way.
The backpack came with a map that looks just like the character from the show. When she pulled out the marker, I told her it was for her to use on the map to draw a path. The surface of the map wipes clean when drawn on with dry erase markers.
She loved this!
Once Rosie had explored all the contents in the backpack, she began exploring the small world!
She immediately went for Dora and Boots!
Creating conversation between the figurines
Exploring with the magnifying glass. I told Rosie that Swiper was hiding, as he always is in the show, and that it would help her find him!
She found him!
"Swiper no swiping!"
Rosie then began extending her play to the wall scene.
Exploring further with the magnifying glass. In the show, they always have the viewer hunt for certain objects, so I had Rosie hunt for things in the wall scene.
She really liked this, and would get so excited when she was able to find the objects.
Rosie absolutely loves this small world! She has already had so much fun exploring with it! It has really helped foster her imagination and bring Dora's world to life, while also creating so many learning opportunities. Rosie has asked to play with it often in the few days we have had it, and I am sure she will enjoy playing with it for a long time to come!
You cloud easily create a small world of any theme. If your child is into farm animals you could make a small world like this one or even bring a favorite book or show to life with a fun bath like this Goodnight Moon bath or this rain forest themed Dora bath. There are so many possibilities for small world play!
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