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10 suggestions of play for early childhood

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We know that early childhood is a very important phase for the children’s development. It is during this period that they begin to build their understanding of the world and learn fundamental life skills. 

Games provide a relaxed and safe environment for the little ones to explore new ideas and concepts, so they learn to re-elaborate situations and seek creative solutions to everyday problems. 

In addition, play also helps children to develop social skills, such as the ability to work in a team, communicate their ideas and collaborate with others. 

What is the importance of play for children?

Play in early childhood has an importance that goes beyond the simple objective of entertaining or filling the free time of the little ones. 

Therefore, it is fundamental that these fun moments and games are adapted to the needs and interests of the children to enhance their development.

They contribute to the acquisition of cognitive skills, besides the development of logical reasoning. Therefore, they must be stimulating and suitable for each level of development.

As play is a language intrinsic to human nature, it’s important that play is guaranteed in the daily life of children as well as in school, where its use and pedagogical objectives can intensify the learning process and favour the children’s development. 

With that in mind, we at St. Nicholas provide a consistent and serious play-based approach to learning in the Early Years. It is important to note that the relevance of using play in early childhood education is supported by great theorists of pedagogy, as well as by the National Common Curricular Base (BNCC). Playing is an indispensable need and right in Early Childhood. 

Check out 10 tips of play for early childhood! 

Now that we already know the relevance of play for the early years children, it is time to go into practice and explore some suggestions for play and games that can be developed. Let’s go!

  • Storytelling
  • Finger painting
  • Sculptures with modeling clay
  • Puppet theater
  • Guessing games
  • Music and dance
  • Outdoor games
  • Building with geometric shapes and blocks
  • Guess the object
  • Puzzle
  1. Storytelling

Storytelling is very fun and fundamental for children. It is important to choose age-appropriate stories that are interesting and engaging. Your child will love to explore different books at home and choose a favourite one for you to read!

Before starting to tell the story, it is important to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, leaving the child comfortable and with their attention focused on you. 

Tell the story in an engaging way and use features like changes in voice tone and facial expressions to make the narrative more interesting.

During the storytelling, ask questions that stimulate the children’s imagination and reflection. Encourage them to make guesses about what will happen next and to identify characters and their traits.

And the storytelling can be even more exciting if it is complemented with drawing or collage experiences that allow children to express their creativity and their story interpretation.

2. Finger painting

Art is important to develop children’s creativity and expression. Drawing, painting, modeling and collage are experiences that can be explored at home.

Free Finger Painting allows children to develop fine motor skills, express their creativity and explore different colours and textures by manipulating paint with their fingers.

It is recommended to wear clothes that can get dirty and let the child explore the paint with their hands freely.

3. Sculptures with modeling clay

If your space is limited for a great paint adventure, this matter can be easily solved with Play-Doh!

Children love to manipulate different textures and doughs, in addition to efficiently developing motor coordination, concentration and most importantly, creativity, bringing lots of fun for the whole family. 

You can make your own dough out of flour as well!

4. Puppet Theater

Puppet theater can help develop children’s imagination and language, in addition to socio-emotional skills and working on body language.

To start, you can make your own puppets using simple materials like socks, fabric and stationery materials. Then choose a simple, fun story to tell, one that has engaging characters and an easy-to-understand plot.

At the time of the presentation, it is important that the children are comfortable in a calm space. They can help organize the setting and rehearse the characters’ lines. 

Encourage children to create their own stories and characters so they can explore their imagination to the fullest. 

5. Guessing games  

The guessing game is a fun game that can be easily adapted for children of all ages. 

To start, choose an object or animal to guess and describe some characteristics without revealing the name. For example, “I’m an animal that lives in the wild, I have black and white stripes, and I’m a feline.” Then let the children try to guess the answer.

This is great for stimulating children’s logical thinking, memory and vocabulary, as well as promoting teamwork and communication. 

To make the game even more interesting, you can add different categories, such as food, professions, means of transport, among others.

Another option is to encourage children to create their own riddles and challenge their peers or family to guess. This encourages creativity and imagination and allows them to take a more active role in the learning process.

6. Music and Dance 

Music has the power to stimulate children’s creativity and sensitivity. It will help to develop rhythm and hand-eye coordination. 

Singing children’s songs, playing simple musical instruments and dancing are activities that can be carried out throughout early childhood.

Start by selecting age-appropriate songs for the children, and choose ones that have easy-to-follow rhythms. 

Create a relaxed environment with enough space for the child to move freely. Then start playing the music and show them simple dance steps. 

Another way of exploring music is through musical instruments. It is possible to create simple instruments with recyclable materials and teach children to play. This helps develop motor, sensory and cognitive skills.

Sing and dance to this rhythm with the little ones and have a memorable time!

7. Outdoor games

Outdoor play is essential for children’s physical and social development. They can run, jump, play tag, hide and seek, among other body actions that encourage movement and contact with nature. 

Remember to choose a safe place and to supervise them throughout their play, and you can even join the play and have fun together!

In addition to fun and physical development, outdoor games can also develop their thinking and cognition further. For example, the little ones can go on a treasure hunt, where they will have to look for specific objects or clues to reach a final goal.

For the smallest, it is interesting to use toys that stimulate fine motor skills, such as balls and buckets of sand. For older children, activities involving strategy and teamwork are a great option.

Another option is to carry out nature observation, such as identifying different types of plants and animals. They will love it!

8. Building with geometric shapes and blocks

This play is designed to help develop children’s fine motor skills and a perception of space, width and height. It can be made with building blocks and wooden or plastic geometric shapes and consists in putting them together to build structures.

In addition to being fun and engaging, construction games can help with planning, balance, and thinking. 

From an educational perspective, these games can also provide an opportunity for children to become familiar with mathematical concepts in a playful and fun way.

9. Guess the object 

Place an object in the child’s hand and ask him to guess what it is just by feeling it. Then, reverse the roles and ask the child to choose an object to you trying to guess.

In addition to sensory skills, this game will help develop communication, concentration, and, above all, confidence. 

10. Puzzle

It is a game that helps to develop children’s logical thinking, as well as perseverance, patience, and cooperation.

It can be done with large-piece puzzles and with few pieces so they can assemble it easily. 

To further stimulate the little ones, we can make our own jigsaw puzzle using drawings painted by the children themselves and cutting them out so that they form a jigsaw puzzle. This will pique their interest in the activity even more. 


There are numerous fun and playful ideas that can help develop important skills in our children. From construction games to counting and reading, each of these suggestions offers a unique opportunity for them to learn playfully and interactively.

If you are looking for an environment that allows the development of essential skills for the formation of the little ones, come and visit St. Nicholas School, the best private school in São Paulo, with an international learning proposal and an inspiring environment to welcome your child on the journey of playful and meaningful learning. 

St. Nicholas School is a complete school environment that offers a wide variety of experiences for your children.

From the beginning, the little ones are encouraged to explore their interests, besides developing essential skills such as social, self-management and communication.

Have it all at St. Nicholas School, the ideal place for your child’s integral development, with a safe and welcoming environment.Come and see our learning experiences and structure to welcome your child! Life at St. Nicholas


  • St Nicholas

    St. Nicholas School is a school with an international education with the aim of developing responsible, confident and caring citizens. Teaching students to ask the right questions, to get to the right places for them. You can find St. Nicholas School in Pinheiros and Alphaville.