Sometimes children play for plays sake for fun , to let off steam , to establish social contact etc but there should be another element to play and that should be a focus on learning - introducing new words and new ideas, thinking out loud, modelling more complex ways of speaking, posing new problems, encouraging negotiation of conflict , explaining, or demonstrating approaches.
- Offer assistance and support to your child as needed this helps children to be successful in follow through their ideas, including talking about or suggesting strategies, and practical support such as holding an object in place as your child works on it.
- Try and ensure that the learning environment offers a range of stimulating open-ended materials, outdoors and indoors, which children can use in their own way to meet their own purposes.
- Make sure where possible your child has substantial time to develop their activities.
- Encourage your child to use the language of learning as they make their plans and carry out and review their activities, talking about things such as 'I remembered, I tried, we found out, we know, I can, we thought, we solved the problem'
- Adopt a problem-solving approach to resolving conflicts or behavioural issues, helping children to be aware of 'others' points or view and thinking together to agree on a solution.
- Observe your childs' activities carefully, trying to discover what the child is thinking and learning and the goals of the play. So you can accurately support and extend your childs learning focus either at the time, or later by changes to the environment or in planned activities.
Remember not be over rigid with this at the end of the day your childs play should be fun.