Your cart is empty

🎁Free UK shipping on orders over £30🎁
Day 6 - Heuristic Play

Day 6 - Heuristic Play

Alexis Ralphs Sep 24 • 7 min read

Day 6 - 30 Days to Learn Through Play

Heuristic Play

We’ve all watched as a baby or toddler makes a happy discovery, learning that one thing fits inside another or that a ball dropped into a tube appears again at the other end. This is known as discovery or heuristic (pronounced hyoo-ristic) play. The pleasing action is repeated many times until the new concept is understood.

This kind of play can last for long periods and is a great introduction to independent play for younger children. In effect, it is an extension of the treasure basket activity we recommend for the under ones.

Young children experiment with any materials they have to hand, pushing and pulling, rolling and dropping, squeezing and hammering to see what happens. This is the most interesting work a toddler can undertake.

When you find a toy that your under-three likes, it’s probably because it taps in to their desire to investigate.

There is no right or wrong with heuristic play, only discovery. Children have schemas, mental models of how the world works. Through experimentation they test those models and adjust them accordingly if new information comes to light:

Drop something and it falls to the ground. That’s an early schema about gravity. But you’ll have to modify your theory when you encounter your first bouncy ball or helium-filled balloon.

But rather than leaving these discoveries to chance, we can offer materials that encourage investigation. Try the following, to begin with. You’ll soon get the hang of it and come up with ideas of your own.

Balls, cotton reels, boxes, corks, wooden spoons, pots that can be nested, wooden rings, strips of fabric, mirrors.

You'll learn so much about your child's development simply by observing how they play.

Here's the rest of the series:


Day 1 - Theories of Development

Day 2 - Stages of Play

Day 3 - Play is Multisensory

Day 4 - Gender-Neutral Toys

Day 5 - The Zone of Proximal Development

Day 6 - Heuristic Play

Day 7 - Spot the Difference

Day 8 - Sorting

Day 9 - Schemas

Day 10 - Ask good questions

Day 11 - Conservation

Day 12 - Seriation

Day 13 - Observation

Day 14 - Set a good example

Day 15 - Fewer toys = more focus

Day 16 - The Hundred Languages of Children

Day 17 - Plan-do-review

Day 18 - Practical life

Day 19 - Free-flow play

Day 20 - Executive functions

Day 21 - Spaced repetition

Day 22 - Independent play

Day 23 - Project-based Learning

Day 24 - The Environment As The Third Teacher

Day 25 - Start With The Child

Day 26 - Symbolic Play

Day 27 - Learning To Write

Day 28 - Blocks: the indispensable toy

Day 29 - Outdoor Learning

Day 30 - Play

Have your say

Keep Learning

Related products