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‘Invitation to Play’ Play Guide
Welcome to The Wooden Toy Co Play Guide!
In these play guides we will demonstrate different ways to use your toys and extend on your play, but also give a little information in to what benefits play has for your children.
In our first guide we are going to start with Invitation to Play.
An Invitation to Play is simply a way of presenting toys or resources that looks inviting to you children. It engages them to play with the items, and if you set your invitation to play using open-ended resources, you might find that your children will interact with the toys in a completely different way to what you expected.
In this guide we will demonstrate some ways to set Invitations to Play, using mostly wooden toys. We will also explain what your child can learn from the play, and how it can be beneficial.
Building Block Towers
In this Invitation to Play we have set up a tower, using blocks and building platforms. Setting this activity out with some peg people or small dolls can invite the children to re-create a house or work environment. You could also incorporate small food items or loose parts and turn the structure into a shop.
Building towers like this is a great way to build on a child’s imagination and creativity, as they pretend that the structure is something else.
It also helps with balance and fine motor skills, as the child will use their fingers to move items around within the structure, while also trying to not knock it over. If it does get knocked over, there are further learning opportunities in re-building!
Decorating a Cake
If you have a wooden rainbow and some circle building platforms you can stack them up to create a lovely wooden cake!
Set out some loose parts and allow your child to decorate the cake however they would like.
An invitation like this enhances a child’s creativity and problem solving, you may find that your child does not have a clear plan when they begin to decorate, but they may start forming ideas when they are building. This is problem solving and creativity at work.
This activity also encourages fine motor skills, as children need to be able to put the loose parts on the small space between the edge of the building platform and the rainbow.
Creating a Pikler Cubby
Sometimes play can be very simple. You can take a well-loved item and by just changing one small thing, you have a completely different thing. When you add a sheet, silk or other piece of material over the top of a Pikler, you have a cubby! If you wanted to extend the play, you could add a few books into the area, you could add stuffed toys or dolls and a medical bag for an easy doctor’s room or hospital. Or you could leave the play like this and see what your child decides it should be.
This kind of Invitation invites children to use their imagination, to see items and play through new eyes. It allows them engage different senses, they can feel the material, as well as explore concepts such as object permanence.