Teachers call it a "Provocation", or "Invitation to Play".. and I think it's a genius way to get little kids to enthusiastically engage in educational play.
If you've spent any time around little kids, it should come as no surprise that young minds are still in the process of developing critical thinking skills. Which makes it difficult for toddlers and preschoolers to come up with play ideas on their own.
Children are way more likely to take-on an educational activity if they come across it naturally.
So setting up an invitation to play is a great opportunity for clever moms to influence their kids activity choices, without making it feel like 'homework'.
An Invitation to Play can be as easy as setting out:
- an alphabet letter card, (these ones are a free download)
- pom poms
- and set of tweezers
It's really just a fancy way of saying "set out an activity" for your child to discover organically. The idea originates from the popular Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education.
In essence, this philosophy encourages children to learn through exploration, in a low stress environment. You can do this at home by providing materials that spark childrens curiosity and 'invite them to play' in a creative, casual way, with no expectation of successful outcomes.
How to Create an Invitation to Play
Tip #1: SET IT UP
Seems obvious, I know, but start by gathering together the materials you need (durning nap time is perfect), then lay them out for your child to discover. Having everything ready to go when the child first encounters the provocation can help them focus their full attention on the task at hand.
Tip #2: START IT
Choose one of the possible tasks and get it started. Providing visual cues for what to do next encourages the child to jump right in, instead of stopping to figure out what they are supposed to do.
Like in the simple letter recognition activity shown above, by placing just a few of the felt letters on top of the flash cards, the child intuitively gets that this is a matching game, no further instructions needed. This kind of unspoken permission nurtures kids' creativity, and can build their confidence. Confident kids are more likely to try new things in the future.
Tip #3: SIT BACK
Admittedly, this can be one of the hardest things to do. As parents, we have a natural tendency to jump in and fix things.. but don't do it! Now is the time to try and resist correcting, or showing them how to 'do it right'. Making mistakes, is a natural, normal and essential part of the learning process. There is a time and place to show your child whats right and wrong. But, by first giving them the opportunity to explore freely, we are nurturing their creative ability to see problems from several different perspectives.
Get started today! Set up your own Invitation to play using the tinyFEATs ⭐️ educational toys shown above:... ... . . .