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Characteristics of playful experiences

The characteristics listed below draw on conversations
with experts in the field, as well as reviews of the literature on play and learning.

Learning through play happens when children feel certain positive emotions and sensations as they take part in an activity – and a sense of joy is usually top of the list.

They will also learn more if they can find meaning in their play, or if their thinking is actively engaged, or if they are encouraged to experiment or test a theory. The chance to interact with other children or with adults will give them more pleasure and so reinforce learning.

The evidence tells us that playful learning experiences have five key elements: They are joyful; actively engaging; iterative; meaningful, and socially interactive.

By checking that play has all or most of these elements, educators and parents can plan and foster a playful mindset.

We will have a closer look at each element in the video above which are also described in the leaflet below.

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Introduction to the Learning Through Play Experience Tool

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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