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Play is the work of children

If you walk into one of our child community spaces in Norwood Centre you might see a child smoothing squares of colored felt onto the floors of a dollhouse or looking at pinecones and dried leaves with a tiny magnifying glass, or making something with blocks, or using measuring spoons and cups to play with sand.  

This is what we call a “play based learning environment.”  

Children learn skills such as creative innovation, collaboration, critical thinking, language development, and math outcomes through play. They also learn a positive attitude towards education, empowering them to thrive in school and life beyond the four walls of their classroom.  

Play is a deep need in every brain,and is a tool that the brain uses to learn what it is developmentally ready to learn. Children learn through play, they learn to communicate, be friends with others, think for themselves, make decisions and change their minds.   

Play is instinctive and comes naturally to children and should always be the fundamental part of learning.   

Play helps children engage in activities, build an attention span, and learn persistence.   

Play encourages children to work through problems and raises curiosity in them.   

 What special activities should I do? Or materials should I buy for my child to learn while playing?  


It can be random objects from around the home:   

  • dishes from the kitchen for the child to explore dramatic and musical skills  

  • a basket and balls for the child to play a tossing game, and learn counting and eye hand coordination skills  

  • plastic cups for stacking and exploring mathematical as well as motor skills  

 Let your child play at the sink while you are cooking. This sensory activity not only builds attention and focus among children, but they learn concepts of science while they pour, collect, splash, and feel the water.   

Taking your child for a walk or outdoor play promotes gross motor development and encourages children to engage in imaginative play, and build strategic thinking.   

The goal is to support your child’s right to learn and develop through the power of play.  

Let’s do it:  

  • Integrate play into daily routines.  

  • Create a play friendly environment.  

  • Foster outdoor exploration  

  • Embrace messy play.  

  • Save the recycling and use it for your child’s play.  

  • Activate your inner child and be playful  

What is my role?  

Offer guidance through open ended questions such as:  

  • I wonder what you are building?  

  •  I see you are collecting the blocks, let’s count how many blocks you have collected!  

  • How you feel when you are touching the pinecones?  

By engaging with your child in this way, you are not only encouraging critical thinking, but you are encouraging your child to express themselves, use their memory, use their imagination, and build sentences. This is exactly what learning through play is.   

Read more about the importance of play to a child's development here.


At Norwood Centre our team of qualified Early Childhood Development Subject Matter Experts work to provide tools that caregivers can use to support early childhood development. We hear you! If you have a question or concern, please ask us. We have a variety of Child Development Activities available on our website, find them at For short-term one-on-one coaching, please call us at 780-471-3737.

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