Imaginative play

young child enjoying pretend play with mud

Encouraging mud play

Children plunge into messy play with great enthusiasm and no hesitation about getting dirty.The adults in their lives, however, may need a little more encouragement to understand the value of playing in and with mud.

Launching a mud area in your play space requires careful planning and communication with staff and families.This article offers advice on how to get over those hurdles.Then, let the fun begin! Read this.

two children engrossed in outdoor role play

The importance of pretend play in natural settings

“Fantasy play is the glue that binds together all other pursuits, including the early teaching of reading and writing skills.” – Vivian Gussin Paley

Fantasy play, or pretend play, is an integral part of childhood. While too often limited by the narrow confines of a role play area, pretend play can flourish outdoors if children are given the space and materials.

Playground equipment like slides or swings encourage active play. What materials should you introduce to promote pretend play outdoors? Read the article.

little girls playing with blocks

Learning through block play

Everyone knows that playing with blocks is essential to learning (and loads of fun, even for grown-ups). But what exactly do children learn as they line the blocks up, stack them, plan and build and bash them over? Harriet K. Cuffaro has some great insights into the value of block play. Read them.
children playing with a sensory treasure basket

Sensory play for children with SEN

“A treasure basket is an example of a sensory-rich and highly portable resource, making it a perfect ‘sensory snack’,” writes Sue Gascoyne. “ The sensory stimulation and hands-on approach is great for brain and memory development, gross and fine motor skills and strength.” Because there are no right or wrong ways of playing, sensory play of this sort can appeal to children with varying learning styles and abilities. Read on.

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.

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