Reflections on play: social skills & connection

We are all friends together. Connection to the people we spend time with is really important for our emotional and mental wellbeing.

Our challenge today is figuring out ways to ignite and flame the spirit of inquiry in children.

Our children are ‘switched on’, engaging in very different ways than they have done previously. When they are engaged in play we hope that they do more than just memorise facts and reiterate the thoughts and findings of the adults they are engaging with.

Our hope should be to take their natural curiosity and let them fly with it. Play is often shaped by adults who feel like they should be ‘in charge’, ‘in control’. We need to be brave, to step back and let the children wonder.

This little peg gathering. Just place something out in a little nook somewhere in the playroom. Don’t draw attention to it, don’t suggest the children notice it. Just leave it and sit back and notice the children actions, emotions and words in response to your provocation.

Curiosity drives learning. A curious child will ask questions, come up with their own solutions and seek to test the results to find out if their idea is the right one. Curiosity, awe and wonder engages our children in thinking creatively.

When our children are involved in creative thinking they are developing transferable cognitive skills.

Through invitations to play we are offering the possibility to develop our children’s knowledge and understanding of how the world works, how they can positively manipulate their world through exploration and investigation.

As our children play in provocative and interesting environments they begin to analyse, they question why, how, what…

A few days later place out a different group of creatures. Let the children spirit of enquiry kick in.

As children investigate and make discoveries during their play they begin to apply the skills they develop in a wide variety of ways, if encouraged. We should consider environments that support and enable the application of the skills and knowledge each child is developing. Not over planned but spaces created with possibilities!

Two little animals made out of spoons. A duck and a mouse. What brings them together? Why are they made out of spoons? Who do they belong to? How did they get here?

As children become absorbed in deep play children can begin to combine separate ideas to form new concepts. Our hope is that we will see our children reflect and recall their thinking and learning.

If we encourage and allow each child to share their creative ideas, to shape and form their opinions on what best way to go about their play the more their confidence develops. We should all be aiming for each child to develop a strong desire to lead their own play and hone their spirit of enquiry.

Don’t forget you can share your thoughts and ideas with us on Instagram or share your photos on our Facebook!