So you know the value of open-ended play, or maybe you don't and you've just stumbled across this blog. If needed check out our open ended play blog before reading on!
Now that you're thinking about getting started with offering more open-ended play for your child you have no idea where to start OR you may find yourself getting overwhelmed by the flood of inspo out there claiming to promote open ended play.
My inbox is often filled with questions about where to start and what resources to choose that will grow with your child and their evolving play ideas. Below are the 5 resources we recommend to support child led play. We guarantee they will serve a wide range of types of play for years to come! Remember the essence of open-ended play is to obtain less toys and get MORE PLAY!
TOP 5 OPEN ENDED RESOURCES
1. A good block set is a must to grow with your child. In the early days your child will use blocks to grasp, then bang together and eventually begin to stack on top of each other. As the years go on you and your child will find 1001 ways to use your block set with one of the main benefits being the early mathematical concepts that are explored through block construction. Our pyramid blocks are like a giant set of unit blocks and can be used to support a variety of numeracy concepts as well as never ending builds. The light weight, grippy nature makes them top quality! We understand the investment can be a lot so you could opt to go with the cost effective Qtoys block set or if you have high fashion taste try the sabo castle blocks
2. Choose a resource that can be used for POSTING. Young children will use these "loose" type items to explore object permanence (where they discover that objects still exist even when you can't see them) A typical way they will explore this is by hiding or putting these items inside other things (aka posting). Later on, these resources can be used for many other uses in imaginative play, early numeracy concepts such as sorting, comparing and lining up as well as in construction play.
3. Nesting bowls or Nesting Cubes are our next recommendation. Children go through a big phase of wanting to put items "in and out", they can use nesting bowls on their own to do this, or use them to carry around their other treasures. Youngsters also like to hide items and then re-discover them, fill, pour and tip and also stack them up in a tower. Nesting resources will later become useful for more imaginative play where your little player will start using these items to make "houses" or "farms" ect. They will also transform into the perfect piece for imaginative play set ups, storage of items and a base for invitations to play.
4. Next, we highly recommend investing in a few play silks. A play silk is the perfect "first toy" for your baby. You will use it for singing and peek a boo in the early days and before you know it, your little one will be using it as a cape for their superhero play. Also great for
- learning about object permanence,
- threading rings and coins, making mobiles ect
- as a play base for imaginative play set ups, use as a
- dolls clothes and blankets
- sustainable way to wrap presents
5. Finally we cannot NOT recommend a large set of magnetic tiles! The perfect STEAM resource (STEAM stands for a resource that meets learning concepts in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) They are an all-around winner and arguably will be the most used and played with resource in your home. On a personal note - as someone who has observed 100's of early learning classrooms, if there are magnetic tiles in the construction area, someone is always playing with them. We recommend the 110 peice set of magnetic tiles from Learn and Grow as a starter set. We also recommend adding the ball run expansion pack in the preschool years.
We hope this is helpful for you and don't forget to tag us in your open-ended play and use hashtag #umeplay so we can follow along with your play and feature you on our socials!