Tree farm small world sensory play!

I wasn’t sure if my students would really be all that excited about the idea but to my delight, they absolutely loved it!

I put together a small world tree farm for my students to explore a little bit of sensory and pretend tree farm play.

Tree Farm Small World Sensory Play

Our question of the day was, “Have you ever been to a tree farm?” Some of our students said “yes” while others said “no.”  Our question led into our morning discussion on trees, roots, tree farms, and lots of fabulous pretend play in our small world tree farm.

Small World Tree Farm Sensory Play

To begin our day, I read the book, “The Great Spruce” by John Duvall. This was a book about a little boy who loved his tall spruce tree and how he was led to dig it up and share it with others. It is a sweet book about family, traditions, and caring for trees.

Small World Tree Farm Sensory Play

After reading our book and talking about how the roots of the Great Spruce had to be carefully dug up and wrapped in order to move the very big tree, the children headed off to explore the different centers set up around the classroom.

Small World Tree Farm Sensory Play

One of the favorite centers of the day was our small world tree farm. After setting it up the night before, I actually didn’t think the children would find it all that interesting. But to my surprise, they LOVED it.

Small World Tree Farm Sensory Play

Instead of putting animals and other things in the small world center, I invited the children to go and choose their favorite animals, people, or trucks and cars from our block center to add to the table for their play.

Small World Tree Farm Sensory Play

By the way, the table the children are playing on is an old train table that I painted and converted to be used for various processes in my classroom like math, small world, sensory play, and so on.

Small World Tree Farm Sensory Play

For the tree farm, I simply added a supply of little stand up Christmas Trees, brown construction paper (for the dirt), and a little bit of fake snow. All the supplies came from Walmart. I didn’t want to add too much snow as this was intended more for pretend play than digging into a sensory experience but the small amount was just enough to capture imagination and not get all over my classroom in the process!

Exploring Tree Farms in Preschool!

The children then added people, animals, and a few other props from our block center. I was actually surprised how selective the children were in what they added. Instead of overloading the table, the children really thought about what they wanted to add and adding their own ideas definitely kept the children engaged in the process of pretend play.

Tree Farm Small World Sensory Play

The table was buzzing all day long with small to large groups of children at play. The play was simply beautiful to watch. From hauling trees, family outings, trucks at work, and a little snow piling along the way…

Exploring Tree Farms in Preschool!

Available on Amazon

By |2018-11-16T21:16:20+00:00December 1st, 2016|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Gerianne Linden December 2, 2016 at 11:29 am - Reply

    This is great! It goes perfectly with our evergreen/deciduous trees explorations! Another great book, The Tree Farmer, By Chuck Leavell, Nicholas Cravotta

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 2, 2016 at 1:17 pm - Reply

      I’ll have to look that book up!

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  3. R Scott Wiley December 5, 2016 at 10:55 am - Reply

    Deborah, I love this. I really like seeing the faces of the children, so intent on what they are doing. This is a different type of activity for Christmas. Thanks!

  4. Eva December 12, 2016 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    You are amazing!!! Thank you sharing your ideas with me and the kiddos in my class!!
    Happy Holiday!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 12, 2016 at 3:06 pm - Reply

      Thank you Eva! Happy Holiday to you too!

  5. […] via Tree farm small world sensory play! — Teach Preschool […]

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  7. […] There are so many ways to explore small world play. Check out this AMAZING tree farm! […]

  8. Vishakha Deshpande October 22, 2018 at 2:09 am - Reply

    I loved this idea Deborah.

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