Learning Through Play – Featuring Special Agent Kieran

Kieran teaching his baby brother, Taylor, how to play "properly"!

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through the Learning Through Play posts on the Tots100 site. It’s opened my eyes up to the huge amount of play-led learning opportunities around for us to take advantage of!

I am a huge advocate for learning through play. Kieran is now four and a half years old, he is so young – yet knows so much (he really does – four going on forty!). He is a very hands on boy and everything is an opportunity for learning,

  • cookery (weighing, measuring, following a recipe),
  • craft (practical skills, motor skills, colour and shapes etc)
  • imaginative play (social skills, comprehension),
  • the computer for IT skills,
  • board games (for learning, sharing and more),
  • building toys (for motor skills, building on imagination)

– there is so much scope using everyday objects and toys and turning these into instruments of learning in fun & imaginative ways.

For us a recent walk out where we were “Special Agent Kieran & Palm-pilot Mummy” (Damn TV!) provided a perfect opportunity for learning (and fun!).

Our town has a series of boards in key areas pointing out different features and what they are/were for ie a wooden castle site, a bull-ring in the market place, a mill. Lesson - History.
Exploring, looking for different birds, trees and flowers - nature studies/observation
A trip to the library, libraries aren't all "shhh!" nowadays but great fun, there is organised storytimes, bean bags and cushions and even a few toys in the kid's section. We always choose story books, a learning book (ie this week was "Planet Earth" and a project book - this week was craft, next week - Kieran wants a sewing/type book
Special Agent Kieran is fascinated by signs - we had a sign hunt, talking about what the signs meant and looking for really unusual ones.
Loads of local attractions to visit! We rounded our day out with a trip to the Herriot Centre, lots of interactive fun and learning!
Home for a family game of Pop To The Shops, (Orchard Toys). Great for learning about money etc, and we have also learned that we are not sure Daddy understands the role of banker. Hmm

So you see, for us learning through play makes up our days, we all have great fun and learn so much and often don’t even realise it. Getting the creative juices flowing, building, making, exploring and investigating is the only way to go!

How do your little ones learn through play? I’d love to hear, and the more ideas, the more fun!

**For more great posts on Learning Through Play – get yourself over to the Tots 100 March Blog – Hop! **

REVIEW: Infantino Explore & Store Baby Gym (Jungle Buddies)

I love this baby gym! Some baby items I find hard to get excited about, particularly as this is my second time with a newborn so I have racked up some serious playtime before now; however this baby gym – I love!

Taylor giving the Zebra a good telling off lol

Aptly named Explore & Store, from a parent’s point of view, it really is easy to clean and put away. I have had so many toys, games and the like in the past which claim to be easy to store (and are shoved down the back of the sofa in a misshapen heap nine times out of ten) but this one is. A convenient storage bag with velcro closers and a carry handle make it easy to transport so that you can take it Grandma’s (or wherever your play is located that day) and keeps the gym fresh, clean and tidy ready for the next use. We did the cleaning test (Taylor threw up on it) and caught quickly enough it does just wipe down.

Ideal for ages 0-5m, with bright colours, a soft feel and gorgeous jungle characters to capture his imagination, this is the ideal playtime mat for Taylor. Three brightly coloured jungle animals hang down, encouraging Taylor to reach up and grab – developing his hand/eye co-ordination and keeping him engaged and entertained. There are also teething shapes which hang down from the animals though Taylor can’t quite get to these yet.

More information on the rest of the range is available on the Infantino website, and you can purchase now from Amazon.

Taylor loves his baby gym and play-mat and already we have enjoyed hours of fun, whilst I can be confident he is playing safely and that his sense are being stimulated.

I would have been very pleased to receive this as a gift. The Cawood family recommends!