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Visual Learners & Maths: How to make Maths fun for everyone

Maths is often cited as one of the most disliked subjects, especially for visual learners who can find it an incredibly frustrating and challenging experience.   But there is no reason why Maths cannot be enjoyed by everyone.

Being a visual learner should not be a disadvantage, in fact, their creativity can be a real asset when it comes to problem solving!

But what are the best ways to engage visual learners?

Here are some tips to help make Maths fun for everyone.


  • Understand what does not work

Before trying out new learning techniques, make sure to know which ones to avoid.  Visual learners are adept at big-picture thinking and can come up with creative solutions to difficult problems, so be mindful not to enforce more ‘traditional’ techniques onto them.  Constant worksheets and pages of sums are unlikely to be very effective and may even have a detrimental effect on the child’s perception of Maths in the future.


The same principle applies if you are thinking about employing outside help, make sure you find the right tutor that fits with the learning style of the pupil, as this will inevitably maximise engagement.


  • A picture’s worth a thousand words

Visual aids are the most important tools for a visual learner.  Being able to summarise a concept with a single picture is likely to be way more effective than a written description.


Additionally, visual aids give you a chance to play around with interesting colours and characters to really make sure the experience is as fun as possible.  Next time you are looking to teach a difficult problem, try making a chart or diagram out of it because seeing an idea is sometimes more powerful than reading about one.


  • Make it colourful

If you cannot make an image, introduce some colour instead.  In Maths, having to work through pages of numbers and symbols is almost unavoidable, but you can still make it appealing to visual based learners.  Colour coding is a great way of breaking down and differentiating information.  You can use different coloured highlighters to go over the most important or the most difficult to remember concepts.  Likewise, coloured pens are particularly useful during the early stages of learning, when teaching fundamentals such as addition and subtraction; using colours to differentiate between the symbols can be an effective way of communicating ideas.


  • Interactivity

Interaction is a great method of engagement, especially for visual learners.  Combining visual aids like flashcards or whiteboards with quick-fire interactive games will prove to be a big hit.  On that note, activities that involve manoeuvrable 3D objects like blocks, sweets, fake money, lego etc. can also be extremely effective in helping learners see and understand mathematical problems from start to finish.

A2 Folding Wedge Review by Cath Hubbuck, Registered Health Play Specialist

I had been looking for a substantial and good quality whiteboard for use in my work as a Health Play Specialist and came across the A2 Folding Wedge Landscape.

Within my role I provide play for children in a hospital setting.  I also spend time talking with children about their health, illness, conditions, clinical procedures, the working of their bodies and treatments or procedures they may undergo during their hospital stay.  I use various resources for this, but I had previously been using large sheet of card for creative exploration work which were cumbersome, not ideal for purpose and given that they would just end up in the bin, was starting to feel costly and wasteful.  Finding a resource that was robust, re-usable and portable was very important.

I have found the A2 Folding Wedge to be a brilliant resource – it has already had a good deal of use in the ways I had intended and more.  I have been able to use it to explain physical conditions, injuries and treatments to children of all ages.  The whiteboard allows shared drawing and creativity to happen very naturally – it was recently used to explain to a 6-year-old boy what had happened inside his arm when he suffered a broken bone.   The child was able to draw the outline of an arm and hand using dry wipe pens.   We then used play dough to create the bones of the arm and demonstrate what happened when those bones were injured.  This creative approach to information sharing with children allows then to learn and process complicated information at a much deeper level than a verbal explanation alone.  Being able to take the Folding Wedge Whiteboard to the child’s bed was also enormously helpful since he was restricted in his movement at that time.

Similarly, it was very useful to explore the effects of a perforated appendix with an older child.  The board provided a substantial base upon which a body outline was drawn and again, play dough used to create the internal organs.  The wipeable and sealed nature of the unit then allowed us to quite literally ‘burst’ a pretend infected appendix and talk about what the experience of the illness had been like for her.  Once the session was over, the whole whiteboard could be wiped clean for use with the next patient.


I have stared taking the whiteboard to my weekly outpatient clinic.  Here our waiting space is very limited, but the Folding Wedge whiteboard is compact and free-standing.  It has been enjoyed by children of all ages who have used it here to doodle, to play drawing and word games while they wait, and for me to use in a similar way to the example given above – to explain procedures and conditions in creative ways as required.  We have also started to encourage children to draw targets containing words or pictures associated with the things that challenge them most about their health issues.  we can then ‘take aim’ with various objects (anything from a ball to wet tissue paper) and throw these at the target created on the board, this allows for a great release of frustration and can open conversations with children about difficult or complicated feelings.

This is a brilliant resource which is enhancing my practice as a Health Play Specialist and ultimately proving to be very useful in helping children and young people during their hospital journey.  The Folding Wedge Whiteboard has proven to be a very valuable piece of equipment.

Preparing Your Child for Nursery School

Your child’s first day at playgroup or nursery can be a formidable prospect for both you and your child.  Our advice here in this blog, will hopefully help to ensure that your child’s experience of nursery is a positive one from the very beginning.

Enhance social confidence

Socialising with other children is a key skill that must be learnt slowly, with some children finding it easier than others.  If you can introduce your child to the idea of sharing and taking turns before they start nursery school, then it is likely that they will find the whole experience less intimidating and more enjoyable.


Children usually play near each other as oppose to playing together until they are around three years old.  You do not need to stand over young children whilst they play, but you do need to be nearby so that you can step in if they start to bicker over toys.  If you do not have a network of other mums with children the same age as yours, look to join a mother and toddler group.

Time away from parents

It will be easier for your child to settle in at nursery if you have slowly got them used to being left with other guardians, such as grandparents or childminders.  Start off by leaving them for short periods, an hour whilst you go shopping, and then gradually build it up until your child is happy to be left for a whole morning or an afternoon without you.

Visit the Nursery School

“When you’re choosing a nursery, it’s usually best to visit it without your child the first time,” says Diane Rich at Early Education, an organisation which promotes quality in early years education. “The next time take your child with you and see how he responds to the environment and watch how the carers interact with him.”

Some nursery schools will allow you to leave your child for short visits to see how they get on.  When you get home, talk positively about the nursery school, the activities that took place, the other children and the staff.  Chat through any concerns your child has before they start.

On the first day

  • Give yourself plenty of time. The chances are, your child will not be prepared for you to just drop them off and leave, so be prepared to hang around until they feel settled.
  • It is likely that you will be feeling just as anxious and emotional as your child, but try to stay positive and confident, as children pick up on any worries or anxieties.
  • Explain to your child when you will be collecting them.
  • Leave your contact number with staff in case they need to get hold of you.
  • If your child cries and will not allow you to leave, ask staff for advice.
  • When you have said your goodbyes, try not to worry. Be assured that if there is a problem, you will be contacted.

Borrow some books to help

Visit your local library and borrow some books on starting nursery, such as Going to Playschool by Sarah Garland.  When you have read them, talk to your child about all the fun activities they might be doing at nursery, like playing outside, painting pictures, playing with sand and water, making models, singing and building with bricks.

Do not worry about letters and numbers

We all want our children to do well, but no nursery will expect your child to have a good understanding of letters and numbers when they start.  Young children learn by playing and therefore optimal learning means being encouraged to play.  This does not mean your child will have free, undirected play throughout their sessions, a good nursery will provide a balanced agenda of directed activities that are suitable for your child’s level of development and will help them to learn through play.

If you want to encourage your child’s learning at home, it helps to make it fun.  Play games of i-Spy to associate sounds and letters, encourage number recognition by counting everyday objects like blue cars in the street, bake cakes to find out about weighing and measuring, invest in a portable dry wipe magnetic whiteboard for your child to draw on so that they learn pen control, which will help with writing when they go to primary school.

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5 Tips to Enhance Your Child’s Communication Skills

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Are modern children losing the art of conversation?  Are they too distracted to listen?  Are they able to listen to an opinion and then give their own, or have they lost key skills through too much time on computer games and devices?

Communication skills are an essential part of learning.  Reading and writing are vital to your child’s education but developing their verbal language skills will also boost their confidence with words and expand their vocabulary.

The exponential growth of technology offers exciting learning opportunities and improved communication tools, but devices can also be an unwelcome distraction.

Children are ‘hardwired’ from birth to develop the key skills of communication, however in today’s busy world we do need to put additional focus on ensuring that children get as many opportunities as possible to develop these vital skills in amongst all the other exciting activities they do.

The way your child speaks, and listens makes a big difference to their chance of success from a very early age.  You can help them learn to communicate effortlessly and with confidence with the following five simple tips.

  1. Create the right speaking and listening environment

Children require a quiet environment to listen and learn in.  Have times during the day when you block out all background noise, and always do this when engaging in a specific activity with your child, such as reading, helping with homework or playing a game.

Having television time is ok, however research shows that for children to listen and learn from the television, adults need to view it with them and ignite conversations.

  1. Comment more, question less

We are naturally keen to lead conversations and test our children’s knowledge, however research highlights that frequent questions and command giving has been linked to delays in children’s language development.

We all instinctively ask questions, however if we do it too often it can have a negative effect.  Try opening a conversation with a comment such as ‘Look, it’s a dog’ as oppose to asking, ‘What’s that?’  And see your child responds.

  1. Use open-ended questions

Research into the use of open-ended questions with school children, that start with, ‘What could we do….?’, ‘Can you find a way to…..?’  has shown to support learning and develop creative thinking and problem-solving skills.  Open ended questions are therefore better to enhance communication skills in children as opposed to closed questions such as, ‘What is the capital of England?’ which requires a one-word answer only.

  1. Give children time to answer a question

Children often need extra time to understand a question and formulate their answer.  Instead of interjecting to help them answer, count to 10, and wait to see if your child answers.  You will be surprised by the results.


  1. Have fun with words!

A child’s vocabulary is essential to their learning.  Research shows that vocabulary size at five years of age has links to later successes, such as literacy skills and academic achievement.

When reading or talking with your child, check word understanding and support word learning by talking about word meaning and sounds.  Try writing words on a dry wipe magnetic Kids Whiteboard or form words using magnetic letters.  This will help your child to learn and recall the words.  Ask about rhyming words, syllable number, what you do with the word, where you find it etc.


We would love to hear about how you enhance your child’s communication skills, please feel free to leave us a comment.


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5 Fantastic Ways to Keep Children Entertained on Long Journeys

With the school holidays officially here, many families across the UK will be heading off on their eagerly awaited Summer Holiday and are also likely to be planning lots of fun days out, both of which will invariably involve a long car journey.

Nothing ruins a road trip faster than bored children.  A well-stocked activity bag will help to refrain the bickering and arguments, and the ‘are we nearly there yet?’  How comprehensive your activity bag needs to be will depend on the length of your trip, how many children you’ll be entertaining, the children’s ages and of course their attention span.

Here are five fabulous ways to keep your children entertained on long journeys:

  1. Enthuse the children about the destination

Talk to your children about where you are going.  Tell them why you are going, how long it will take to get there, and talk to them about all the things that you can do once you’re there.  Encourage them to ask questions and then ask them what they are looking forward to.

  1. Whiteboard and dry erase pens

With a portable dry wipe whiteboard children can draw, play naughts and crosses and hangman, or write notes to each other, then rub it all off and start again.

  1. Magnetic letters, numbers, & shapes

The Wedge Jotter portable dry wipe whiteboard is also magnetic and can be used with an assortment of magnetic letters, numbers and shapes.

  1. Instant film cameras

Yes, these are still available!  These cameras push out small instant photographs and are lots of fun. Children can take silly pictures of themselves or capture images for their trip notebook.

  1. Audiobooks:

Starting from age 3, most children can follow a more complex storyline and audiobooks are a great way to pass time on the road.

We would love to hear your ideas on how you keep your children entertained on long journeys, please feel free to leave us a comment.

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Wedge Jotter Pack Review by Childminder – Samantha Goldsworthy

The children were keen to unwrap the parcel and were amazed at the new Kids Whiteboards.  The Wedge Jotter packs are fantastic and have been used at every opportunity so far.

The boys are reluctant mark markers and took the boards outside as they are very portable and lightweight, to sit by the pond and write what they saw – they wrote ‘frog’ copying the words that we wrote.  This activity then moved onto rhyming, the children could form recognisable letters on the boards as they are slanted which helps.  The ‘reluctant writers’ are keen to write on these boards as they are fun, different and also any errors are wipeable, so the child isn’t upset as the error gets wiped away rather than with paper as it’s still there, so they bounce back after difficulty really quickly.

These boards have been used daily for observational drawing of our caterpillars and butterflies, writing what the Hungry Caterpillar ate and even taken to watch the older children at sports day – they drew the children running whilst sat on the grass.

The children also practiced recognising and writing their names getting ready for school. One little boy would not come near a pen – he kept saying no if I asked him, however when he saw the whiteboards he was keen to have a ‘try’ and copied some of the letters.  He was so proud of himself, bless him.

The boards are a very rich tool for the EYFS curriculum – I found it helps with mark making, using the tripod grip, wanting to form recognisable letters, rhyming, giving meaning to marks – pictures and words which in turn leads to increased self-confidence of the child.

In a nutshell, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Wedge Jotter pack to all parents and childminders with children between the ages of 3-6 years old.

Top 10 Tips for New Teachers

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Being a new teacher can be just as daunting as being a new pupil.  From new faces, to new procedures through to managing your own classroom, being a teacher is as rewarding as it is challenging, and if you’re new to the career you could feel overwhelmed by the journey ahead of you.

To help you with this exciting time we have compiled our top 10 tips written by teachers with over twenty years’ experience.

  1. Maintain a healthy work/life balance

As you know, teaching is one of the most stressful jobs going.  Do not let the job take over your life, set time aside for yourself and your family.  If you have hobbies, do not let them slide because it’s those that will keep you sane through the inevitable tough days of your first year.  Yes, you want to impress and do your best for your pupils but if this comes at the cost of your health then it’s not going to work.  Remember – very few perfectionists survive teaching!

  1. Be a good colleague

In a good school you will find that there is a strong relationship between colleagues, however this does require a bit of give and take.  Even when you are rushed off your feet, it always pays to invest a little time into being a good colleague.  Simple things like making coffee for a teacher on duty, sharing a good resource or website, helping with displays or performance practices, always get repaid many times over and you’ll earn a reputation as a team player.

  1. Develop a good relationship with your Teaching Assistant

If you have a teaching assistant, they can be a huge benefit but only if you manage them appropriately. Remember that they are a colleague and it’s likely that they aspire to be a teacher one day.  For this reason, remember to treat them as a partner in the classroom, work to develop them professionally, value their contribution to the smooth running of the class and you’ll build a positive relationship with them, that way they will do all they can to help you and make your life easier.

  1. Get parents onside

It is crucial that you get to know the parents of your pupils and for them to know you.  There is always caution amongst parents when a new teacher joins the school and it is essential to put the parents at ease as soon as possible.  Your school may have a ‘meet the teacher’ evening at the start of term and if so, try to get to talk to as many parents as possible.  Be realistic in talking to them, do not promise them the moon but let them see you as professional, capable and enthusiastic.

  1. Have high expectations

From the beginning, develop high, but not unrealistic, expectations of your class in terms of what you think they can achieve and in terms of their behaviour.  Children do not like to disappoint and if you discuss your expectations with them and tell them when they are meeting them, they will work even harder to please you.

  1. Challenge your pupils

It’s easy to give pupils work that does not really challenge them, but whilst you think it might give you a quieter time in class, it can lead to frustration and possibly disruptive behaviour.  Supported challenge is the key, give pupils relevant work that they will find tough but tell them that you will support them to succeed with it and gain the satisfaction from their achievement.

  1. Don’t take bad behaviour personally

The life of a teacher is a wave of mixed emotions and learning to deal with bad behaviour can certainly be challenging.  Learn to distance yourself from bad behaviour and do not take it personally.  Always remain calm even in the most stressful situations, it is imperative to ensure that the pupil does not pick up on the fact that you are troubled.

  1. Set the rules and enforce them

If you plan to set some classroom rules, make sure that they are enforced always.  Perhaps choose three or four core rules and write these on your School Dry wipe magnetic whiteboard.  State the consequences for any students who break the rules and follow your action through.

  1. Manage your classroom effectively

Effective classroom management is essential.  Think of it as running a small business, you must manage the ‘employees’ (the pupils), the resources and the work schedules.  Use the pupils to help you manage the day to day running of the class, taking the register to the office, collecting in books for marking, sharpening pencils etc.  They’ll enjoy the responsibility and it will save you time.  Have defined routines, children prefer to know what is going to happen during the day and what is expected of them.  It may take time to get it running like clockwork, but it will be well worth the effort.

  1. Have fun and enjoy it

Our final piece of advice is simply to enjoy teaching.  Each day brings many rewards, from a child finally understanding to the home-made cake on your desk in the morning.  Teaching is tough but for most of the successful, happy teachers, it’s a vocation, not just a profession, and of course let’s not forget the glorious summer holidays!

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How to prepare your child for starting Primary School

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Starting school is a big milestone and although it is a very exciting time for both children and parents, it can also feel very overwhelming.   To help alleviate some of your anxieties and to help your child with this major transition here are some top tips on how you can get your child “school ready”.

So firstly, what does ‘school ready’ mean?

Pacey, the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years sum this up nicely as follows:

  • having strong social skills
  • can cope emotionally with being separated from their parents
  • are relatively independent in their own personal care
  • have a curiosity about the world and a desire to learn

Top Tips

  • Talk with your child about starting school. What do they think it will be like, what are they most looking forward to and is there anything that they are particularly worried about?
  • If your child has any concerns, talk to them and to their new teacher about it. Provide your child with reassurance by letting them know exactly what to do should the situation their worried about occur.
  • Look at the school’s brochure / website together and talk about the pictures.
  • Talk about school in a positive way, but don’t be too overzealous as this will not put your child in good stead if they encounter a horrible child who pushes them or says something mean. Always be positive, but gently warn them that they may get tired and that if they have any problems or feel sad, they should tell the teacher.
  • Visit the school with your child, many schools set up ‘taster’ sessions which provide your little one with the opportunity to familiarise themselves with their forthcoming new surroundings.
  • Read books together about starting school, such as ‘Starting School’ by Janet and Allen Ahlberg, ‘Topsy and Tim Start School’ by Jean and Gareth Adamson or ‘Harry and the Dinosaurs Go to School’ by Ian Whybrow and Adrian Reynolds.
  • If your child seems anxious, then talk about and focus on the things that you think they will like best and if applicable talk about their friends from preschool who will be starting at the same time.
  • Practise the school routine, including going to bed at a reasonable time, getting ready, eating breakfast and the school run itself. Have meals and snacks at the same time as your child will on their school days and get into the habit of having bath and stories before bed, which will help your child to relax and wind down as oppose to TV and tablet time.
  • If your child has a particular ‘security’ toy or blanket, then try to get them used to being without it during the day. Also, if your child has naps throughout the day, try and phase these out.
  • It is natural for you as a parent to feel nervous but try not to show your child, as they can easily pick up on how you’re feeling. Try to stay positive and relax.
  • Avoid making negative comments such as ‘I hated school’ or ‘I was rubbish at school’ as you do not want to influence your child to have a negative attitude.
  • If you already know some of the other children that will be in your child’s class, then why not organise a play date? Chatting with other mum’s in the same position as you, should be beneficial and may help to relieve some of your anxieties.
  • Make the buying of their uniform and essential items for starting school, such as a lunch box, new shoes, coat and stationery an exciting adventure. With regards to uniform shopping, be mindful not to go too early as your child may have outgrown the uniform before September and equally do not leave it too late in case everything is sold out.  Buy clothes and shoes that are easy to put on and remember to buy the iron on labels, make sure you label everything!
  • Encourage your child to master the following self-care skills:
  • Going to the toilet
  • Washing their hands
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Feeding themselves / Eating with others
  • Tidying up
  • Using a tissue
  • It is very important that your child recognises their own name, both hearing it and seeing it written down. Help to familiarise your child with letters of the alphabet and numbers up to twenty.
  • If you are successful in familiarising your child with the letters of the alphabet, it is very beneficial to teach your child how to write their own name because then they can label their own work. A Kids Whiteboard is a fantastic tool to help your child develop pen control and practise writing their own name.
  • Once your child has started school, if you find that they are tired when they get home, allow them to take a little nap when they get in or make them a healthy snack to restore their energy levels.
  • Allow your child a good couple of weeks to settle in before introducing after school activities and try to keep the first few weekends quiet so that your child has time to recharge their batteries.
  • Keep talking to your child about how they feel about school, set time aside each day to discuss how they are getting on.
  • Establish a good, solid relationship with your child’s class teacher, including preferred times and means of communication.

The start of school is an emotional time for parents, especially if it’s your first child.  Try not to be openly upset in front of your child, you need to stay strong and be supportive, it’s important to make your child feel confident.

We would love to hear how you are preparing your child for school in September, please feel free to leave us a comment.


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Why it’s Important to Include Play in the Classroom

Play is universal and is an entitlement of childhood.  Play is unprompted, it is natural, gratifying and it is fun.  Play boasts many benefits:

  • It enables children to learn and build skills that lay the foundation for learning to read, write and do mathematics.
  • It gives children the chance to socialise with peers the same age, and to learn to understand other children, and to communicate and negotiate with them.
  • It inspires children to learn, imagine, categorise and problem-solve.
  • It provides children with the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings.

Within the context of education, there are two forms of play, namely free play and guided or structured play.

Free play is pupil centred play, and is guided solely by children themselves.  The pupils choose how they are going to play and what to play with.  With this type of play there is room for much imagination and creativity.  There are several benefits to this form of play including conflict negotiation, collaboration skills, problem-solving skills and social-emotional growth.

Structured play on the other hand, is guided by the teacher.  In this instance the teacher will provide instructions based on academic content or social skills, which can be written on the School Dry wipe magnetic whiteboard.  The teacher will take control of the play environment by structuring it in such a way that it guides pupils to learn specific content.  There are several benefits to this form of play including following directions, strategising and cooperative skills.

“Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth” (Ginsburg, 2013). 

Play is a tool that children use to discover and learn about society and the world in which they live.  Through play, their social and cognitive needs can be met and developed.  Play is the way that children relate with the world and in turn generate experiences to understand society and human cooperation.

Play helps children to become effective problem solvers because during play children make and resolve their own problems.  When a child is asked to solve an educational or real-life problem, they are then able to relate and use the skills that they have practiced during play to find a solution.

Play contributes towards developing the whole child.  Through play a child’s imagination, physical and cognitive abilities are improved and strengthened.  Using play as a tool to teach in the early childhood classroom will bring a holistic approach to the content and will help develop every part of each child.

“Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development” (Ginsburg, 2013).

Through play, children can synthesise and internalise information that they have learnt.  After teaching a lesson, allowing children to play will help them put the information they have just learnt into imaginary “real-world” situations.  If play cannot be used within the lessons to teach the content, then it is important to use it after the content is taught to help children internalise what they have just learnt.

6 Key Reasons for Play:

  1. Promotes problem-solving
  2. Helps children learn about the world and society
  3. Promotes creativity, imagination, cognitive, social, and emotional development
  4. Can be used to deepen understanding of classroom content
  5. Enhances language and cultural development
  6. Play is an important part of the classroom because it helps develop the child in ways that other strategies and approaches cannot. The art of play will develop the whole child, not just the cognitive parts.

Learning through play is a term used in education and psychology to describe how a child can learn to make sense of the world around them.  Through play children can develop social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally, and gain the self-confidence required to engage in new experiences and environments.

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How Children Learn Through Play

Corinne & Wedge White Board

Play is fundamental to the healthy growth and development of children, so much so, play underpins the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) of learning.  Through the art of play, children develop their emotions and creativity together with an array of competencies including language skills, social skills and academic skills.  For most children, their play is instinctive, impulsive, unstructured and unsupported, however some children may need to be guided.  For more details click here to read our blog on how you can promote learning through guided play.   

Play takes place in lots of different environments and helps children to explore and discover their immediate world.  It is here within these playful scenarios that they practise new ideas and skills, take risks, demonstrate imagination and solve problems on their own or with other children.   Adults play a critical role by providing the space, time and resources that will inspire play and ignite children’s imaginations.  Adults should observe play and participate when invited.  It is essential that adults appreciate the value of play and as such provide a safe yet challenging environment that will support and extend their child’s learning and development.

As children play, they learn to solve problems, get along with others and develop the fine and gross motor skills needed to grow and learn.  They are also beginning to get a sense of their own identity and how they are different from others, such as noticing boys and girls.

How Do Young Children Learn?

Children essentially learn through all their senses, namely touch, sight, hearing, smelling and tasting.  By observing and imitating those around them they learn language and behaviour.  Children also lean through play.

Learning through play

Play is one of the key ways in which children learn.  The art of play helps to build children’s self-worth by giving them a sense of their own capabilities and to feel good about themselves.  Because play is fun, children will often become very absorbed in what they are doing which in turn helps them to develop the ability to concentrate.  Providing children with a range of resources will help them to learn in several ways:

  1. A Kids Whiteboard is a fantastic tool to aid creative play.  Just give children a selection of dry wipe pens and let them draw and scribble till their hearts content.  This encourages imagination, creativity and expression of feelings.
  2. Building blocks, jigsaws and shape sorters can help with recognizing different shapes.
  3. Dancing, running, climbing and playing ball games all help to foster muscle development, help fine-tune motor skills and develop body movement, flexibility, strength and co-ordination skills.  Children also build their mental and emotional muscles as they create elaborate, imaginative worlds rich with a system of rules that govern the terms of play.
  4. Games will teach children to share, mix with others and take turns.
  5. Sand and water play is a fantastic introduction to science and maths, i.e. learning that water is fluid and that it can be measured in different size containers.
  6. Singing and playing simple musical instruments helps to develop listening, hearing and rhythm.

It is integral to remember that children develop in their own ways and in their own time, so please do not push your child too hard and try not to compare them with other children.  You may also want to encourage reading to and with your child.  Look at the pictures together as this will help younger children to make sense of the words.  It is also good to talk to your child a lot, about everyday things while you are cooking or cleaning as this will give you a chance to teach them how things work and will allow them to ask you questions. Be prepared for a lot of ‘why’s?’

Play is extremely powerful for children, more so than parents realise.  Play is fundamentally the key to learning.  Educators and researchers across the globe have repetitively discovered that play can help enrich learning and develop key skills namely inquiry, experimentation, expression and teamwork.

In her TedX Talk , Professor Doris Fromberg, Director of Early Childhood Teacher Education at Hofstra University, explains why play is such an important part of the learning process for children.

“We need to consider that young children learn in quite different ways (than adults).  They learn by comparing physical experiences, by interactions with other people and their own feelings.  And they learn an enormous amount through their imagination… Play is what pulls together the logical and creative parts of the brain.”

To summarise, play provides opportunities for exploration, experimentation and manipulation that are essential for forming and building knowledge.  Learning through play stimulates the development of social, emotional and intellectual abilities of a child.  It is also through play that children develop their imagination and creativity.

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