“Why?” We’ve heard it asked hundreds of times as a three-year-old explores and tries to understand the world around him. As soon as a baby notices something hanging over her crib the curiosity to find out more begins. An inquisitive six year old take things apart and then puts them back together. All of these children are participating in what is called exploratory play…the stuff of curiosity and inquiry.
How many times have you given a toddler a gift and they end up playing with the box? Give a child several boxes and she will begin building a tower. This most basic of play, also known as construction play, lends itself to intellectual, social, emotional and physical learning. Children who are engaged in construction play use materials such as blocks, Legos or boxes to build structures and create landscapes. The complexity of these structures increases as they get older.
Make Believe Play
Young children learn by imagining and doing. Early childhood, birth through eight years, is prime time for make-believe play. From a two year old carrying around a baby doll to an eight year old re-enacting a scene from a favorite movie, make-believe evolves from simple imitative acts into elaborate plots involving complex coordination of roles.