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Learning Through Play

"The importance of play"


During this period of home learning, it is so important that your children have opportunities to play. In Panda Class, on a typical day, we only spend about 15 minutes at a time doing teacher directed activities, the majority of the time the children are learning through play. You may have heard this referred to as 'Choosing' or child initiated time. This time where the children are able to play is so valuable and allows them to deconstruct a lot of their thought processes. 


I stumbled across this blog post below whilst doing some home learning of my own and thought it would be of value to share. Please have a read, preferably with a cup of tea or coffee and know that you are all doing an amazing job!

The idea of play based learning is that you follow the children’s lead and they initiate the play.  You then respond to this play and build learning in (where appropriate and where possible.) It might be tricky at first to think of activities to do on the spot but whatever you come up with will be great and you can always just see what they are exploring with their play and then build that into their activities in the afternoon/the next day. It is okay if you don't intervene, let them problem solve and be resilient.

These are just a few ideas of how one resource can be used in many ways to engage your child in play based learning. It is sometimes hard to think of a range of ideas to enhance play based learning so please ask my advice; it is what I am here for. If your child has a particular interest or favourite toy then ask my advice for how we can turn it into play. I may not have all of the answers but I will try to find some answers for you.

Learning through play - activities to try


Here are some activities you can explore with your little one/s at home. They are ideas which have come from Instagram but there are many other websites which have lots of ideas to help you explore learning through play. If you like any of the activities and want to find more then search for the pages using the @ handle on the social media app. We have tried some of these activities at school and the children love them!



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1. Using PlayDough lids or milk bottle tops, write numbers to 10 or 20 on them. Can the children match the sums/subtraction sentences?

2. Use the alphabet cards and locate items around the house which begin with each item.

3. Use PlayDough to create cakes and treats (if you don't have PlayDough, make some using the recipe I have shared in past resources). 

4. Clean some toys/items which are dirty. You could get your child to make them dirty first with a bit of soil/mud. (Please make sure these items are safe to go in water!)





  • Write numbers on rocks or if you have log slices and chalk paint, you can paint and draw on them for numbers and sounds!
  • Paint the inside of an egg box with different colours (you don't have to use an egg box as large as the one pictured!) and go on a nature colour hunt.






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1. Make some PlayDough (using the recipe) or use some salt dough or if you have clay you can use that. You can even use mud to create a head on a tree. Then use natural objects to build the face. Remember our Forest School rules - Don't pick anything which is growing!

2. An idea shared by someone else to @learningthroughplay8 - If you have large cardboard boxes, turn them inside out and into easels.

3. An idea shared by someone else to @learningthroughplay8 - Make a bouquet of flowers for someone using hand prints.




 Create potions or perfumers with water, food colouring, paint, grass, plants which aren't growing.



Create vegetable print pictures! (Pandas, make sure you don't need to eat the vegetables first, we don't want to waste them! You could always use sponges or shape blocks.)





1. Create a car maze, can the cars get back to their garage?

2. To support with writing from left to right, @play.hooray​​​ came up with this activity to help children with moving items from left to right across a page.

3. You could set up a nature tray for your child to create their own small world play. This idea was shared through @play.hooray.


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