Making sense of play: Recognising patterns of play to help support your child’s natural growth and development

If you’ve ever been mystified by your little one’s fascination with repeating certain actions while playing, you’re not alone! Play for our children is everything. It’s how they explore, discover, and learn about their world and how to interact with it. Children’s strong, internally driven urges lead them to explore their ideas and theories about the world through repeating patterns of play.

There are many different types of patterns of play, and your child may even explore more than one at a time. As parents, recognising and understanding these patterns allows us to help enable our little ones’ development by supporting them as they play. It also helps to eliminate any confusion, and sometimes frustration, adults may have with the way children play (like why they insist on getting more paint on themselves than on the paper!).

Clever Play understands that young children learn about the world around them through play. So we aim to help develop young minds by helping you recognise your child’s patterns of play to encourage their natural growth and development and foster confidence in themselves as learners.

There are all kinds of different patterns of play, and some are easier to spot than others. A few of these patterns are included in our quiz, but there are many more. What do you notice your child doing over and over again? What big ideas might they be testing? Find out which patterns of play your child is exploring by taking our quiz!

Clever Play is inspired by Getting Started with Schemas by Nikolien van Wijk. Her book was based on the original research of Chris Athey and Tina Bruce in the UK, and Dr Anne Meade and Pam Cubey in New Zealand, and the work of the Wilton Playcentre Centre of Innovation research contract, 2003-2006.

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