Farmyard Sensory Small World Play

Create a farm-yard small world play scene using real sensory elements to enrich the fun and  learning experiences for young children! Pair it with a favourite farm story or information book, to give some context-rich literacy opportunities too!

Farmyard sensory small world play scene

When setting up a small world play scene, I usually place them at child height on a low table top or basket and make it accessible from as many angles as possible. Leaving the small world scene out for an extended period of time (I’d say at least a couple of weeks, but more or less time following the child’s lead) gives plenty of opportunities for returning to the scene and adding to it with other elements as their interest grows. Small world play was my favourite area of play to set up for my classroom while I was teaching and I still love doing it now!

We made a simple farmyard play-scene using our Melissa and Doug barn, an empty wooden crate from one of their toy sets, toy animals, and a few added sensory ingredients for tactile exploration!

The sheep and goats had a paddock of dried and fresh grasses to share.

In our farmyard scene we needed a mud bath for the pigs to roll around in, so Cakie filled a tub with soil from her vegetable patch. The pigs had a wonderful time!

The ducks, swans and peacocks needed a pond to swim on so we put a few drops of blue colouring into a tub of water to make one.

The animals had a nice field made of hay to roam around in, as well as some grasses, rice and split peas to eat. (Looks like Granny Farmer had a slight mishap delivering the animals’ breakfast this morning!)

I adore these miniature vegetables we have in our Teeny Tiny Things collection (aka a large box of misfits that we’ve collected from various sets of Playmobil and Sylvanian Families!) Girl Farmer collected all of these crops and arranged them so tidily, before settling down for a rest.

The girls loved this farmyard and played with it for much longer than they have in the past because it was set up as an Invitation to Play and because it stayed out for a long period of time. The mud and water did get mixed up together and eventually replaced, but all other toys remained within the play scene.

Have you tried creating a small world scene? What has your child’s favourite been?

Learning Links:
creativity: create stories using toys and other items to represent new objects
literacy: use dolls/puppets and story props to retell stories and create new ones
physical: fine motor skill development though arranging and ordering small objects, sensory exploration
knowledge and understanding: exploring about farms, names and types of animals, animal behaviours/ food/ habititats/ uses etc Vegetable/ fruit names and types

Cakie: 3.10
Pop: 2.3
Bean: 20 wks

Looking for more small world play scenes to try? There are LOTS here in the archives to choose from!


  1. Karen says

    Hubby has taken my 3 kiddies out for the morning – I’m gonna have this set up for when they return as the 2 boys LOVE all things farm! thanks for the motivation!!!!

  2. says

    We did some farmyard small world play yesterday too. I love the mud and water idea, perhaps we might add that at the weekend. I can imagine the pigs had lots of fun taking mud baths!

  3. says

    Hi, I have jusy discovered your blog and I LOVE IT! So many fantastic ideas, can’t wait to try some out with my little boy when he is a bit older, he is just 5 months now so he is still finding his own body fascinating at the moment. He discovered his ears the other day!

  4. says

    Just wonderful!!! I am trying to create an ocean small world these days and would love to do it as beautifully and play-invitating as you do. Thanks for sharing!

  5. says

    I have to ask – where did you get your farm set? I’m planning on making my son a farm birthday cake and have looked everywhere for simple farm animals like the ones in your post and have not come across anything.

  6. Anonymous says

    Your blog make me wish TWO things 1: that my little ones were a little younger (though my 8 year old was pretty excited when she saw it!) and 2: that I could be your kid!! LOL What a charming and lovely childhood you have created for your little ones – what a blessing! I wonder if my 7 yo boy would like some of these?