Since we moved invitations to play or play prompts have been few and far between – partly because I don’t know which box everything is in! But over the past few weeks I have been trying to reintroduce these. T is at a great age now to make her own play when provided with a little prompt.
‘Invitations to Play’ is a term often used in Early Years work to describe an open ended approach to play. It simply is a set of play materials set out in an inviting way which the children discover and play with in any way they wish. It could be play dough set out with small cake cases and candles; bricks and small world people set out in a new place; a table set out with plates, toy food and napkins; a sensory basket to explore like the one here.
The idea is to spark their imagination and let them take the play where they wish.
This weekend we introduced an Invitation to Play at Toast!. We were exploring Mardi Gras, Carnival and Pancakes as the celebration at the start of Lent and so set up this Pancake invitation to play inspired by this post on The Imagination Tree.
It was a big success and gave space for those not wanting to get involved in the other more craft based activities. We placed it next to the baby area to try and create a quieter zone in the room and a place where the smaller ones feel safe.
I used wooden eggs; a selection of the pans and plates from our toy cook box; cut circles of yellow felt as pancakes; red pom poms as strawberries and a yellow one as a lemon; wooden milk cartons and added a couple of chefs hats we had.
Great fun and a big success with many of the children.