Alexis Ralphs

I'm Alexis, father of four and founder of One Hundred Toys, Get Set Five, A Year With My Child and Play with Purpose. I taught in London primary schools for thirteen years, specialising in the early years. I studied at the Institute of Education, part of the University of London, both for my PGCE and my as-yet-unfinished masters. I'm especially interested in schemas and how they help us understand the motivations behind toddlers' play.

Don’t overcomplicate invitations to play | 5 ways to keep your child engaged

For a moment it all looked so nice. There was coloured rice and soil, sticks and stones and straw. You bought a beautiful toy wolf and three little pigs. You built charming houses. It was a lovingly-constructed scene. What fun your child would have recreating the story of The Three Little Pigs! Cue the big …

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Closed-ended play: Learn to finish what you start

Open-ended play is good for your child. Everyone knows that, right? That means closed-ended play must be bad. There’s nothing creative about puzzles or Ludo. Closed-ended play is play minus the creativity – and that sounds all wrong. But puzzles and games are good for you. They teach problem-solving, perseverance and the importance of finishing, vital skills …

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Mono no aware

We’re going to take a philosophical turn today. It may seem odd to start a series on Christmas activities with a meditation on impermanence but stick with me. In my usual, circuitous way, we’re heading somewhere. I visited Japan a few years ago and encountered an interesting idea: mono no aware. As I understand it, the …

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