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Creative Play: Encouraging Your Child To Explore The World Around Him

Creative play is an essential means of encouraging your child to experiment and explore the world around him.

Creative Play

It helps him to discover, through his senses, the properties of different materials.

Choosing Play Material And Equipment

Age Play Needs of Your Child Indoor Equipment Outdoor Equipment
1–2 Years

Your child is mobile and he’s gaining gross motor and fine manipulative skills. He needs plenty of opportunities to strengthen his muscles and develop co-ordination.

  • Push-and-pull toys
  • Toys that make music
  • Dolls
  • Trolleys
  • Building bricks
  • Posting toys
  • Outdoor equipment
  • Paddling pool
  • Baby swing
  • Small slide
No outdoor equipment required at this stage
2-3 Years He is starting to notice and play with his mates. His language is increasing and much of his play is pretend play. Gaining confidence in physical movements and enjoys playing outside.
  • Dressing-up clothes
  • Home corner equipment e.g. tea sets, prams, cooking utensils etc.
  • Dough
  • Paint
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Sand and water tray
  • Slide
  • Climbing frames
  • Sit-and-ride toys
  • Tricycles
3-4 Years He’s starting to co-operate with other children and enjoys playing together with them. Most of his play is pretend play... pieces of dough become cakes... tricycles become cars etc. He enjoys physical activities, gaining confidence in being able to use large equipment e.g. climbing frames.
  • Playmobil
  • Duplo figures
  • Dressing-up clothes
  • Dough
  • Water and sand
  • Construction toys…such as trains
  • Climbing frames
  • Slide
  • Bicycles with stabilisers
  • Ball and bean bags
4-6 Years He is more interested in creating things... making a cake, drawing cards and planting seeds. He enjoys being with other children.
  • Cooking activities
  • Construction toys
  • Simple board games
  • Toy animals
  • Dough and other malleable materials
  • Materials for recycled modelling
  • Hoops
  • Mini-gardening tools
  • Skipping ropes
  • Climbing frame
  • Tricycles
  • Different-sized ball
6-8 Years He is confident and can play well with other children. He’s starting to have particular play friends and is able to share ideas about his play.
  • Creative materials e.g. recycled modelling
  • Crayons, pieces of card and paper
  • Board games
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Complex construction toys
  • Books
  • Ball
  • Hoop
  • Bicycle
  • Roller-skate
  • Climbing frame
  • Swing



>> Click here to learn more about 50 creative development play activities you can do with your child.

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