Here's our simple arctic small world play made of scraps of fabric, some empty plastic pots and tin foil. Last year we made this arctic snowy world play scene (picture below) with shaving foam, polystyrene and bubble bath.
We also had lots of messy fun the other day with the shaving foam, doing it again this year.
This scene is out on a little table in the corner of our dining room and I'm frequently catching the girls playing with it. I tend to leave something like this out for a few weeks to enable them to come back and play over time and develop their games and stories and then after a few weeks we'll change it into something else (And yes once again our antarctic emperor penguin is there with the arctic seals and polar bears, we've just pretended he's a different breed of penguin!)
Some of the games I've managed to catch a glimpse of include: Lots and lots of rearranging, taking everything off and leaving only the light blue fabric to make it into an ice rink. There have been boats added and various rescue attempts. And of course the fairies have come to join the penguins and the seals a number of times. We've had an ice cave created with some of the fabric for all the animals to live in too.
We've had fun learning a bit about the antarctic, mainly based around some of the picture books we have (see our collection of arctic and antarctic picture book stories) We've also looked up maps in our world atlas and done some ice and snow experiments. Just a few simple ways to connect up some play-full learning for an inquisitive 4 year old and 2 year old.