Toys, Materials, Games

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Children play with blocks and dinosaur figurines.
Article
Teaching Young Children
September 1, 2021

Sparking Creativity with Cross-Area Play

Cross-area play is rooted in the idea that when children are given the freedom to experiment with materials in open-ended ways, their play can transform into elaborate, complex plots and offer rich developmental opportunities.

Authored by

Authored by: Lydia Minahan Jessica Byrd Sarah Dwyer Sandra Romp Layney Viets Ekaterina Strekalova-Hughes
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A child plays a shapes activity.
Article
Young Children
September 1, 2021

Intentional Teaching Moments: Supporting Executive Function Development and Early Mathematics Through a Geometry Activity

Enhanced by math activities, higher-order mental skills and abilities serve as the behind-the-scenes machinery that facilitates young children’s ability to engage in and demonstrate their learning competency.

Authored by

Authored by: Holland W. Banse Douglas H. Clements Julie Sarama Crystal Day-Hess Marisa Simoni Candace Joswick
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Teacher on a laptop smiling at young child
Article
Teaching Young Children
September 16, 2020

Ask Hello. Play in the Age of COVID

If your center is operating fairly “normal,” what have you noticed during play? Are children talking about COVID? Do they interact the same way as before?
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young girl putting together a 3D block puzzles using blocks
Article
Young Children
May 1, 2020

Learning Engineering through Block Play: STEM in Preschool

In recent years, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) have been increasingly emphasized for elementary-age children, and this trend should extend into preschool too. Blocks—a fundamental material found in almost all early childhood se

Authored by

Authored by: Zachary S. Gold James Elicker Barbara A. Beaulieu
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Tinkering objects
Blog
April 22, 2019

Making and Tinkering at Home

Read about how this author helped her 4-year-old daughter create a tinkering space at home.

Authored by

Authored by: Julia Luckenbill
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Two girls playing with lily pad math game
Article
Teaching Young Children
April 1, 2019

Play Games, Learn Math! Number Path Games

Number path games, when played like board games, are ideal for helping preschool children learn math.

Authored by

Authored by: Kristen E. Reed Jessica Mercer Young
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children with building materials
Article
Teaching Young Children
February 1, 2019

Start StoryMaking to Join the Maker Movement

StoryMaking is a fun and easy way to introduce the maker movement to early learners.

Authored by

Authored by: Robin Chappele Thompson Michelle Compton
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Child playing with rocks
Blog
January 2, 2019

Spotlight on Games—Kindness Rocks!

As early childhood educators, we often have stories to tell about our own children as we play and learn with them at home. Here is a story from Julia Luckenbill about her family’s experiences with a rock hiding and finding activity.

Authored by

Authored by: Julia Luckenbill
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Two children playing with boxes
Article
Teaching Young Children
December 1, 2018

Preschool Play Plans: Creativity with Cardboard

These are ideas for open-ended indoor and outdoor activities that use inexpensive or free materials—bubbles, mud, chalk, playdough, and cardboard boxes. The activities are appropriate for preschoolers of all abilities.

Authored by

Authored by: Blakely Bundy ​Diane E. Levin members of TRUCE
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Laughing toddler
Blog
October 1, 2018

Play with Free Stuff: No Batteries Required!

There are many, many items you dispose of every day that could be perfect toys for your young child.

Authored by

Authored by: Toni Sturdivant
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child's hands kneading playdough
Article
Teaching Young Children
October 1, 2018

Preschool Play Plans: Playdough

Playdough is a fun, easy, budget-friendly material for helping children work on math and literacy skills and get creative.

Authored by

Authored by: Blakely Bundy ​Diane E. Levin members of TRUCE
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Children playing with chalk outdoors
Article
Teaching Young Children
August 1, 2018

Preschool Play Plans: Chalk Play

This is the third article in Preschool Play Plans, a TYC series. This installment focuses on different ways to play with chalk.

Authored by

Authored by: Blakely Bundy ​Diane E. Levin members of TRUCE
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child playing with blocks

At Home with Makerspaces

Whether you call them makerspaces, hackerspaces, or DIY labs, the idea is the same—they’re places where kids can tinker, invent, and build to their heart's content. They are great for fostering creativity and hands-on learning.
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