Inviting children to play in preschool

This is not a St. Patrick’s day post but I did use photos from our St. Patrick’s day activity box to start this post off so please read on….

How you set out materials on a table can make a difference in whether children will want to play with those materials or not.

During St. Patrick’s week, we made up several activity boxes for the children to explore. One of the activity boxes included green hearts of three different sizes for the children to explore…

The older children used the hearts to form shamrocks…

The younger children preferred to stack the hearts up or spread them out on the table…

But if you left the shamrocks out on the table like this, no one played with them at all…

To make an activity more inviting, you need to actually set the activity out where the children can see the materials…

But if you want to make an activity say, “Come and Play with Me!”  Then get rid of the basket and set the materials out so that they look interesting, inviting, and ready for play…

Have you heard of the term, “Interest Centers?” The “interesting” part is the part that invites participation, curiosity, and ultimately promotes play!

Now tell me if these activities look interesting or inviting? Do they say to a child – “Come and play with me?”



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By |2011-03-25T16:00:01+00:00March 25th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Pam March 25, 2011 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    this is so true! I think this is sometimes an area that I am still working on! It’s easy to get busy and forget to add those little touches that can make a difference! But it IS so important!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 25, 2011 at 11:12 pm - Reply

      I am just really starting to pay attention to this. I think because I am observing classrooms all the time – it is really starting to stand out to me when teachers take the time, or don’t take the time, to make their environments look inviting and fun!

  2. katepickle March 25, 2011 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    You are spot on…. Just like adults are drawn to interesting, pleasing spaces and things, so are children. A little effort makes a big difference!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 25, 2011 at 11:11 pm - Reply

      Absolutely Kate – I know I am drawn to something more when it looks pleasing:)

  3. April March 26, 2011 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    This is SO true. I love visiting other classrooms to keep ME inspired.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 26, 2011 at 3:48 pm - Reply

      I do too!

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