Have you ever wondered why your baby or toddler plays as they do? Perhaps you've noticed they're obsessed with putting things into other things, lining toys up or even throwing objects over and over again. If that sounds familiar, there's a good chance that what you are observing is your child learning through specific 'Schemas' or patterns of play and exploration.
Schemas are recognised by Early Childhood theorists to be an instinctive way for children to make sense of all the new experiences they encounter. They are often to compelled to use certain repeated movements, actions and patterns in their play which enable them to create similarities in apparently unconnected objects and experiences.
When we, as adults, take time to really observe young children's play, we will be rewarded with valuable information to help us provide learning experiences which they are interested in. By giving your child toys, games and activities which follow their interests they are so much more likely to become deeply engaged in their play and therefore form increasingly complex cognitive connections.
So what should you be looking out for?
Children are fascinated with things that turn or spin such as the washing machine, wheels or taps.
If this is your child, try providing lots of wheeled toys, balls, spinning tops, wool to wind and unwind, clocks with moveable hands, cooking equipment such as whisks and rolling pins, ribbons and streamers to twirl, paint rollers, water wheels, roundabouts and any toys with knobs or cogs that turn.