Learning through Play

Lady plays with a smiling child

The Lloyd Park Children’s Charity believes that play is the best way to promote learning and development in a child’s early years. Children are skilled learners, and watching them play in an exciting and stimulating environment quickly demonstrates this.


How will this promote my child’s learning and development?

Children will use play to explore and make sense of their world; you may observe your child re-enacting or planning for a major event in their life (such as going on holiday or having a new sibling), this often helps them explore their feelings and the feelings of others.

In their play, children demonstrate symbolic behaviour (in which items or actions are used to represent something different), they mimic skills they are yet to master, and copy the people around them. They can be seen writing, performing, shopping, using tools and utensils, and testing out different jobs and other roles.

Your child will use play to test out ideas, experiment, draw conclusions, learn from mistakes and make choices and decisions. They can compare themselves to others and start to develop a sense of their own identity.

Top Tips

  • Provide opportunities, and support for your child in their play
  • Think about your child’s interests and major events and plan activities around these topics (e.g. after a trip to the doctor, your child may enjoy using roleplay to re-enact their experience)
  • There are lots of free or low-cost resources, look around your house for safe play items. If you are planning a holiday, your child may enjoy packing bags and flicking through travel brochures. After a shopping trip, you could recreate a mini supermarket; your child may enjoy selling, buying or packing groceries
  • Help your child to use all of their senses; play can involve touch, taste, sounds, smell and sight.