Play is a child's work and it is how they
learn to make sense of the world.
Opportunities for different types of play
can be provided to promote a child's
development and learning.
Physical play - promotes the child's
gross motor skills, energetic and health
Manipulative play - promotes the child's
fine motor skills
Discovery/Investigative play -
encourages the child to experiment and
Creative/Expressive play - encourages
the child to create and perform their
own ideas and feelings
Imaginative/Role play - allows the child
to pretend, act out situations and
imitate others in their world
Social play develops gradually from simple
to more complex forms of social interaction.
Most children will pass through the
following stages of play:
Solitary play - playing alone
Parallel play - playing alongside others
but not with them
Looking on play - watching with interest
as others play
Joining in play - playing with others by
doing the same thing
Simple cooperative play - playing as
part of a group, sharing an idea and
Complex cooperative play - playing as
part of a group, agreeing different
roles, ideas, rules and sanctions
Play provides many benefits for the
developing child (physically,
intellectually, emotionally, socially and
Express ideas - develop speech
Learn a range of new skills
Learn how other people behave
Cooperate with others
Interact at various levels
A range of exciting and challenging
resources for children to use will help
their play develop and hold their interest.
Play opportunities should be provided
indoors and outdoors using their natural
environment and natural resources.
Useful reading material:
"Planning Play and the Early Years" -
Penny Tassoni and Karen Hucker
"Play in Early Childhood - From Birth to Six
Years" - Mary Dorothy Sheridan
and Jackie Harding (1999)
"Early Years Play and Learning: Developing"
- Pat Broadhead (2004)
"Play and Learning in the Early Years"
- Practical Pre-School Books