Active play

child touching polished stones and pebbles

The importance of sensory play

If there’s one thing in common about young children, it’s their ability to make a mess! Children learn best through direct experiences – exploring the world around them with their whole being. They stare, grab, smell, listen, rub, or lick unfamiliar objects, using all their senses to collect data that will be wired permanently into their memory.

 

If a child’s environment is too sterile or limited, they are deprived of this rich learning. What can parents and teachers do to offer diverse sensory experiences without becoming completely overwhelmed by the inevitable mess? Read this.

three boys playing in a stream

Using nature to help children academically

How can spending time outdoors help our children develop into enthusiastic academic learners? Ginny Yurich from Michigan, USA has some interesting insights and tips after spending thousands of hours outside with her five children. Read them here.

boys playing with unit blocks

Block play and maths

"When children play with blocks, they are practising mathematical skills, " write Pamela C. Phelps, Ph.D. and Laura L. Stannard, Ph.D.

 

"Because it involves measuring lengths, widths, and heights (if only by eye), block play develops a child’s ability to mentally visualise relationships. Such manipulations are similar to those used in geometry and algebra during the child’s later school years" Read more.

little girl playing at the Mud kitchen

New for 2019: Outlast mud kitchens and Arbour!

In most settings, the home corner is a popular and firmly entrenched establishment. This spring take your cooking outdoors again, where natural materials, dirt and water are the perfect ingredients for hours of creative play and scientific discovery. And then escape the hustle and bustle to relax, read, or role play in a welcoming, protected den.

 

Watch our new Outlast mud kitchens and Arbour in action at Annan The Froebel School in East Sussex. Everything comes with our standard 10-year-warranty and free 2-week delivery.

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playing with blocks

Osian's story

We all know that block play is good for children, but here’s part of an email we received from Vikki Curtis in Wales which portrays just how powerful constructive play can be. 

 

“When Osian started nursery at 3 years old, his use and understanding of language was very good. He also had excellent understanding of social language cues and non-verbal communication and extensive vocabulary, but he made most of his sounds at the front of his mouth. Osian quickly realised that he couldn’t be understood all of the time and as a result developed an anxiety stammer.

 

Osian was referred for speech and language therapy. By this point he was stammering most of the time and started “giving up” in the middle of sentences. His therapist worked with him to find ways to help his talk and had advice for me as his parent. We tried all of the strategies… but the most successful one was almost an accident!

 

Playing with blocks has always been one of Osian’s favourite activities. He loves to envelop and disconnect things, and blocks provide the opportunity to do both.  He would play for extended periods of time, building structures, hiding toys inside and then knocking them all down! Eventually, we noticed something…

 

Osian didn’t stammer when he was playing with blocks. He would talk to himself – fluently. No stammer. At all. Blocks gave him the opportunity to lose himself so completely in the play that anxiety disappeared. He also had plenty of opportunities to rehearse what he wanted to say. He realised that he was speaking without a stammer and used this new found confidence to talk in other situations.

 

Osian has now been discharged from speech and language therapy. He no longer stammers - but he does still play with the blocks!”

 

Read more about the many ways that block play supports learning and development.

 

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