Learning through play

Posted by iChild, May 22, 2019 1:51 PM

By The Next Best Thing to Mummy

As a former early years practitioner I know that children learn a great deal through play.

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I don’t really agree with the idea of having a curriculum for children under the age of 3; I don’t think it is necessary.

When I was a childminder all my under 5s learnt to tell the time of 12.30. This was when a slightly older child would arrive during the school holidays and they all loved her. I had a clock in the playroom and they would often comment that 'Laura will be here soon', when looking at the clock whilst playing.


The children learnt the names of colours when drawing with coloured pencils and crayons and painting, one particular boy learnt colour recognition by playing with toy vehicles as he didn’t have the concentration span to do arts and craft activities.

The children’s first experience of counting when in my care was when I carried them upstairs for a nap or accompanied them to the toilet. I would count the stairs out loud as we climbed. They all learned to count to 13 (the number of stairs) quite quickly! We also counted when singing certain songs and rhymes, and looked out for numbers and colours whilst out and about.

At a toddler group session the children would celebrate any birthdays by clapping the age of the child whose birthday it was after singing happy birthday. I recall them clapping my birthday when I was 34!


Messy play gives children the opportunity to learn about texture as well as colour.

I strongly believe that children learn more easily when they are in a safe, happy environment. I have observed that babies learn from watching older children, which is why I am not keen on settings who are made to separate the babies in a dedicated baby room. Childminders don’t do this, everyone plays together ( sorry if this offends some settings).

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Taking children out and about also teaches them road safety.

Early years professionals use their observations of children playing to plan future activities to move children up to the next level.

By The Next Best Thing to Mummy

(This is a shared blog, you can read the original version here.)




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