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Play = Thinking, ideas and language.

Young child

'Let me choose the way to do it'

What can we do in our setting?

  • Don't use any pre-drawn templates and shapes this month! Festive celebration cards or home decorations made in setting to come fully from the children's own imagination. Just provide a range of materials and resources; then stand back and let the children impress you with their creativity and skill.
  • Set up and run a 'stay and play' session. Model learning through play for parents. Show how children develop skills through playing by talking about what the children are choosing and doing and describe what they are learning. (Use 'When I play I Learn' posters to support messages going home.)
  • Support the children in planning and performing their own Christmas play or drama piece. Use favourite songs, characters and festive activities, sharing children's experiences to put together a performance for families and friends.

                                                       Six children

Mummy, Daddy and Me

  • Encourage your children to attempt wrapping presents on their own. They can use a variety of materials to explore how best to wrap a present.
  • Print - (using potatoes, sponges etc.) your own wrapping paper.
  • Make Christmas decorations together; let your child choose their own designs
  • Visit a Christmas market. Encourage your child to take photos of what attracts them. Make a collage or book from your adventure.
  • Sing a Christmas carol everyday

Play with babies and young children

  • Support your toddler in recreating their experiences, playing with dolls/ teddies etc.  Little boy
  • Set up a doll space with real food and liquids and large dolls. Play feeding, washing, changing baby together.
  • Label items children are using and actions they are making.
  • Model care for baby, introducing new concepts, verbs and ideas.

Play = 'All I need for Learning'

"Providing a range of familiar and unfamiliar choices and activities for children counters implicit adult messages about what to do, supports children's inventiveness and enables children to explore and express their feelings, views, concerns and aspirations in a variety of ways."

Help children to become aware of their own goals and to review their own progress and successes. Describe what you see and encourage child to talk about own processes and successes. (EYFS)

Play and Do

Glue dough

Child sitting on the grass

  • 6 cups plain flour
  • 6 cups corn flour
  • 3 cups PVA glue
  • 3 cups warm water


  • Mix together the flour and corn flour
  • Stir in the glue  (it should resemble large breadcrumbs.)
  • Start to add the water until you have a soft pliable dough

Sensory play

Young children love bubbles!

Bubble play supports:

  • Language development
  • Exercising your mouth muscles
  • Practice forming your mouth in different ways Boy blowing bubbles
  • Using new words

Drama and Story-telling

  • Bubbles can become rain, storms, snow, friends, fairies etc.

Social Communication

  • Turn-taking, sharing
  • co-operative play
  • joint attention

Mathematical development

  • Problem solving
  • Counting
  • Shape
  • Patterns
  • Measure
  • Amount
  • Size

Physical development

  • Co-Coordination
  • Balance
  • Fine motor skills
  • Dance
  • Large movement ability

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 29 Jul 2015 at 12:25