A challenge we are likely to face at one time or another is helping our children to engage in constructive play. What I mean by this is focusing on an activity with purpose, meaning, organisation and an end goal in mind. Here are 5 ideas to try with your early learners. Remember these types of routines, take time and consistency before they become habits.

//SETTING GOALS// Regular goal setting is important for everyone including our early learners. This can be done verbally with our talking children (eg.what would you like to achieve today or what are you making) or with the aid of printables or as a visual display for for toddlers and preschoolers. The frequency of setting goals will vary from child to child and family to family. Read more here about how goal setting works at celebrateplay HQ.

//OPEN ENDED RESOURCES// By creating open ended play experiences we are encouraging our learners to be creative, use their imagination and think critically…the very skills that will assist with their learning as they grow. Whilst this activity does not focus on a known end product as the possibilities are endless, it can sometimes lead to an end product known by our learners as they explore. This involves setting up invitations to play (materials presented in an interesting way) and using resources that are versatile eg, blocks, nature and craft.

//MEANINGFUL INTERACTION// Communicating with our early learners whilst they play can allow us to enter their world and share in the magic world of play (such a delightful experience). It can in turn also encourage them to concentrate and engage in a particular activity for a chunk of time. A great way to encourage meaningful interaction is through the concept of dinner conversation starters.

What are dinner conversation starters?
They are the beginning of a sentence on various topics that require conversation to be completed.

Benefits of dinner conversation starters?
•a quick way to connect with your family at the end of the day
•fosters talking and listening
•a great way to introduce new ideas and learning
•an insight into the world of your child/children
•role modelling effective communication through meaningful discussions

Where can you find a list of topics?
There are a multitude of sites online that list dinner conversation topics. Our favourites are on Pinterest, the family dinner project and binspiredmama.org (free printable available).

//MAKING CONNECTIONS// is one of the Super 6 Comprehension strategies sometimes taught in the classroom. It is a Literacy strategy designed to assist students understanding in what they are reading by linking new ideas and concepts to familiar knowledge and prior experiences. The main idea is to make connections with both new and old information and then apply this new knowledge to other situations. Ways to make connections with your children is by asking questions or making thought proviking statements. Eg. Do you remember when we saw XYZ…. This reminds me of/when…

//ADEQUATE TIME// this can sometimes be a challenge, particularly when we feel time poor. Quite often, our little ones can request that we play with them and unfortunately it can sometimes be at inconvenient times. By creating organisational systems that can help lead to time for quality play experiences , we are helping our little ones to develop a passion for learning. Have you checked out some of the organisational systems that work for us? Here are some links:


What play experiences or organisational systems have you created that have helped engage your early learners in constructive play?