Play in early childhood education

HomeEarly childhood education resourcesPlay in early childhood education

Play in early childhood education

HomeEarly childhood education resourcesPlay in early childhood education

Topic summary

Research reviews

What is play and why is it important for learning?

An overview of the research on the importance of play for learning and development.

Supporting specific competencies through play

How to use play pedagogies to support the development of specific competencies in children in early childhood settings.

How to integrate play and teaching in early childhood education

A guide to incorporating different kinds of play in early childhood settings.

What role should I take in children’s play to best support learning?

Principles for aligning a teacher’s role in play activities with valued learning outcomes.

Outdoor play and why it’s important

An overview of the research on outdoor play and its many benefits and affordances for children’s learning, development and wellbeing.

How can I help children make the most out of outdoor play?

Strategies to help teachers in early childhood settings support and promote children’s outdoor play and make the most of the many affordances of outdoor play, risky play and play in natural settings.

Materials for play: Why open-ended loose parts are important

An overview of the research on loose parts and their known and theorised benefits, and how to inquire into and improve on your loose parts provision.

Materials for play: A short guide to selecting loose parts

How to choose loose parts to afford a wide range of possibilities for play and exploration.

Materials for play: Infants and toddlers

A short guide to using loose parts to enrich the play of infants and toddlers.


Movement for learning: Q&A with Gill Connell

This webinar is a sequel to our 2021 webinar, exploring the role of movement in children’s learning and development, and how teachers can support children.

The importance of outdoor play in early childhood education

A discussion on the importance of outdoor play for children's development and how to design outdoor spaces.


Play in early childhood education infographic

Discover the types of play, how they impact young children, and what roles teachers can take.


STEM learning and local curriculum in the construction corner

Blocks and construction materials provide rich opportunities for cross-curricular learning.

Providing challenge and exploring risk in outdoor play

Challenging and risky play provides multiple opportunities for physical and social emotional learning.

Environments and resources for infants and toddlers

The benefits of open-ended resources and environments for supporting learning and exploration.

Exploration and learning: Taking risks

Opportunities for exploration and risk-taking supports children’s resilience, perseverance and confidence.

Environments and resources that promote agency

Valuing children’s right to advocate for their own and others’ ideas.
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