Tutor Courses






General aims

To encourage parents to appreciate the importance of play in a child’s learning development identify the benefits of playing with different sorts of materials recognise that learning is taking place in different activities interact with children, listening to them and responding in a supportive but challenging way.


Session 1: Things that fit together and take apart

Look at all the toys and pick out those that encourage accuracy

  • Pans and lids,
  • Shape sorters / posting boxes
  • Nesting toys
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Turning and screwing
  • Threading
  • Make a jigsaw puzzle, cereal boxes, pictures, glue and scissors


Session 2: Rhymes and songs

Extend play that is happening naturally.

  • Sing some songs and rhymes encourage to share those they know
  • Get together and talk about making some musical instruments.


Session 3: Making together

Make skittles out of plastic bottles covering them in tissue paper and then rolling another bottle at them.


Session 4: Interaction when involved in playing with children

Watch video extract, discuss main points that come out of it:

  • Shows – interest in the child and what they are doing reaffirms and extends language positive, encouragement of play


Session 5: Waterplay

Watch video snip again highlighting the interaction between parent and child, parent following child’s lead extending conversations asking questions, changing tact with the child but talking them through what they are doing.

  • Bowls, water, bubbles


Session 6: Sand

Involving children in sand play, the ease of having a bowl of sand and the amount of fun that can be got out of it.


Session 7: Playdough

Play with already made up dough, then involving both the parents and the children make some dough that they can take home. Give recipe and demonstrate other ways play dough can be used.


Session 8: Painting

  • Paper to cover the floor or table, painting shirts, non tip containers for the paint and especially the water.
  • Sponge prints paint brush
  • Parents and children experiment with painting in different ways interacting together.


Session 9:

Cutting and Sticking

  • Scissors, Pritt stick, Magazines, Cereal boxes

Making a Name Board

  • Parents to help children find letters of their names and stick them on A 4 card, then identify pictures that go with each of the sounds of their names or just pictures they like


Session 10: What can we do with the box?

  • Scissors, Pritt stick, boxes, magazines

Parents and children turn the box into something else: dolls cot, garage etc.


Why play is important to child development:


  • exploratory play – exploring rather than playing
  • energetic – exercise, confidence, balance, co-ordination, [head, arms, legs]
  • social – attract attention, communication, taking turns. Starts with imitation, then playing with adults, beginning to understand taking turns
  • skilful play – emerges out of children’s exploration of objects, they begin to acquire manual dexterity, gain control, join together, begin to make precise actions
  • creative play – drawing, painting collage, sand, etc play with ideas
  • imaginative play – takes place after the above and when children have an understanding of people and objects, children who are good at pretending tend to be better at language.
  • structured play – governed by materials rather than by the child – jigsaw puzzles matching games.
  • free play – free of constraints but needs supervision.

Areas of learning through play

Physically – hand-eye co-ordination. crawling, walking, running, standing on one foot, hopping and onto more involved complicated actions.

Intellectually – makes decisions, concepts of size, shape. position, heavy, light, tall, large and small. Learns to put things back where they find them, mathematical concepts, volume, etc.

Language – express themselves verbally, knack of conversation, babbling with response turns into words. Rhymes actions songs.

Emotional –  outlet for feelings, pounding clay etc. Ability to use objects will enable coping skills in later life.

Sensory – use of five senses.