their lead, and let them play, all sorts of learning will happen. For a deeper
understanding of the learning taking place when children play, check out
the learning term glossary on page 165.
How can I best support child-led play?
Here are a few big ideas:
Children who feel safe, secure, and loved possess the foundation they need
for play and learning. Kids who do not feel safe, secure, and loved are stressed
and have a hard time opening up to the possibilities of play.
It is so important to know a child’s likes and dislikes in order to successfully
inspire her in a fun way. Create an environment that allows you to know the
children and their interests very well.
Letting kids lead takes practice. Practice being on your toes and ready to let
the kids take the play in an entirely different and spontaneous direction than
you might have prepared for. Try letting children lead in these four ways: task,
time, team, and technique.
• Task. When kids take charge of selecting the activities they engage in, their
brains are more tuned in and focused. We would all rather do what we’re
interested in than what someone tells us to be interested in.