two children playing with unit blocks

An interview with Daniel Spry

Blocks are one of very few resources that allow children to work in all areas of learning at once. They encourage creativity and allow kids to turn problems over, not only with their minds, but also with their hands.
Some months before the Covid-19 pandemic began, we interviewed Early Years Consultant Daniel Spry, who has delivered block play trainings nationally and internationally for many years. Here's the interview.
 
baby crawling past the mirror in a baby shelf

What are the best toys to offer babies and toddlers?

What are the best kinds of toys to offer very young children? Which ones actually help them learn all the things they need to know? It can be really hard to choose from all the options, but bestselling author and early years specialist, Jennie Lindon, has some great tips to help you as you play and learn with your little ones. Read them here.

 
child and teacher sharing a story book

Building a foundation for literacy

A mother once approached Albert Einstein and asked him what she might do to prepare her young son for a successful career in science. “Read him fairytales,” he replied. “And, if you want him to be very intelligent, read him more fairytales.”

This is comforting advice for a nation-full of parents unexpectedly facing the responsibility of educating their children at home. Our predecessors understood that storytelling, singing and poetry provide a rich foundation in oral language which is a critical prerequisite for literacy. Read more about this from Joan Almon.
 
young child looking closely at a green caterpillar

Wonder: a survival skill

In the last generation we've seen forces such as commercialism, academic pressure, and a “too hurried” lifestyle crowd out the space and time it takes to cultivate a sense of wonder in the natural world. Suddenly this has all completely changed. Perhaps parents and children spending more unscheduled time together at home will have time to watch, wonder, and appreciate the small, everyday spring miracles happening right outside the door.

There are many nature-related activities you can do with young children that require little more than stepping outside. Dr. Ruth Wilson offers some suggestions to get you started. Read here.

 
printing with paint and natural or other objects

Printing with found objects

Children love to explore and experiment with paint. Add some interesting objects from around the house or garden and the fun and potential are doubled! This is serious process art: the end product may be beautiful, but its all about the experience of new textures, messy hands, and discovery! Find out how to get started.

Happy Easter from the team at Community Playthings!

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