Blog - Nursery Talk
Letting children lead play
Play allows children to safely explore their environment, enabling them to learn and understand their world. A time for trialling and being creative, to see what works and learn from mistakes, to be in control – it is vital for the emotional and cognitive development of all children.
At Boys & Girls Nursery we have a ‘Learning through play’ ethos, understanding that research shows the most effective way children learn is through play. We encourage child led play as it forms part of our philosophy, fostering this approach provides the right opportunity for our children to grow and flourish in a healthy and supportive atmosphere.
Kelly Ridge our Area Manager provides tips on how to adopt child led play in the home and highlights how this approach is reflected within our nurseries.
In our nurseries all of our rooms are laid out so that there are a variety of resources for the children to explore. This can be adapted for any environment including the home by ensuring that resources are age appropriate and easily accessible.
Once the child is engaged it is imperative to let them build on the activity giving them the confidence to work things out, create their own dialogue and lead the direction of play.
It is important to follow the interests of the individual child, not rushing them and praising their own interpretation, putting aside judgements and letting them be!
Junk modelling is a wonderful way to engage in child led play, allowing them to make something with a variety of different materials and letting them, in their own time, form their own unique creation. Other forms of child led play which can be easily supported at home include:
Role play with puppets – letting the child direct the course of action and make decisions, a fantastic opportunity to let children work out their world
Art and crafts with cardboard boxes – a great activity enabling children to create and construct what they choose
Small world toys – designing different environments and observe as the play unfolds
Outdoor sensory play with sand and water or a mud kitchen – perfect for exploration and investigation.