Play and Learning

elephant toothpaste experiment

Science Experiment – Elephant Toothpaste

At Little Miracles we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage. The Early Years Foundation Stage is a play based framework that all childcare providers use to ensure that all children from birth to five years are developing and learning. We plan and provide a huge range of play activities, which helps children to make progress in all areas of learning.

Learning through Play

Play is essential to help young children to learn and develop across all learning areas. They develop their physical skills, social and emotional skills, cognitive skills and their communication through doing activities and talking to other children and adults about it. Research has shown that this is how children learn to think. It also helps them to socialise with each other and engage in learning experiences together.

Providing children with a range of playthings will help them learn in a number of ways:

  • Sand and Water play can be an early introduction to science and maths, learning about quantities, textures and measuring
  • Playing with dough, drawing and painting, dressing up, playing with dolls can encourage creativity, imagination and expression of feelings.
  • Building blocks, jigsaws and shape sorters can help with recognising different shapes and sizes, putting things in order and developing logic.
  • Playing ball games, dancing, running, climbing all help to develop body movement, strength, flexibility and co-ordination skills.
  • Games help with turn taking, sharing and mixing with others.
  • Singing, playing simple music instruments help to develop rhythm, listening and hearing.


It is important that children have fun while learning at this age. Children should be actively involved in doing things that they like and sometimes they may do things in a way that seems unreasonable to adults – that’s fine, children learn to experiment and solve their own problems.

It is important not to push children to hard at this age. They have to learn to develop in their own ways and they should not be compared to others. You can encourage more challenging activities by engaging in them together with your child. This will help your child to make sense of things.

At the nursery we promote child-led activities in particular for our youngest children. This is the only way to ensure that the activities we provide for individual children are appropriate for their level of understanding and will benefit them. As they get older children have the option to join in with more adult-led activities, and these will increase towards school starting age. However following the child is still key to their learning.