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Why make a Biome in a Box?

  • In small world play, children act out roles and scenarios in a safe space.
  • Adding an imaginative theme to your ‘Biome in a Box’ develops creativity, problem solving and critical thinking, and can be very freeing.
  • Using natural materials, found in the garden or around the house, adds an important sensory element. Children can practise using descriptive language and sorting and ordering.
  • You may have to repurpose or re-imagine an object as something else, developing important cognitive skills.
  • A living garden will need you to nurture it and watch it change and grow but adding natural elements which wilt or decay also prompts important observations or conversations. 

What you need to do:

  1. Find a suitable container – a cardboard or plastic box or tray. The size and shape of your container can help theme your garden; a small box creates the perfect space for tiny fairies, whereas a tray could become dinosaur world.
  2. Find natural materials like stones, sticks, leaves and shells to furnish your box or use objects from around the home. If your box is lined or waterproof, you can add soil and living plants. 
  3. Wonder what your small world toys need in their habitat? How can you create a place to hide, water to drink, something to eat, materials to make things with? Add fixed and moveable objects and consider their size and shape. Cress seeds on wet kitchen towel could make a perfect fairy veg patch. Vegetable peelings might make a slimy swamp. 
  4. Arrange your objects to landscape your Biome. 
  5. Introduce your small world creatures. (If you don’t have any suitable toys, add faces to corks, stones or wooden clothes pegs to make imaginary people.) 
  6. Play! Talk about what’s happening to the small world people. 
  7. Notice what happens in your ‘Biome in a Box’ and how it changes. 
  8. Share pictures of your small worlds on social media and tag the Eden Project on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.