Learning Through Play-Toy-Based Learning at Foundation Stage
Young children learn from first-hand experiences and working with actual objects. They try out and explore and learn. The classroom environment should cultivate this spirit of exploration through playing with toys and manipulatives. Many local toys are available in every child’s surroundings. These should be used as important resources for teaching and learning.National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage-2022
Why a teacher should use toy based learning approach at Foundational Stage?
- Whether a toy is simple or complex, it has a lesson for the child to learn. When a child holds a toy, and manipulates it, she is practicing her motor skills and strengthening her hand-eye coordination.
- Toys that require children to push, pull, grab, pinch, turn, or otherwise use their hands and body to make it do something are instrumental in a child’s growth. When a child builds a tower with blocks and eventually watches it fall to the ground, she learns concepts and thinks about a solution to stop this fall. A puzzle helps a child explore patterns. When children use blocks, dolls, animal toys, balls, mini-cars, or pretend toys, they start creating stories and living out scenarios in their minds. Board games teach children to follow simple rules and enhance understanding of language and mathematics.
- Puzzles encourage experimentation with cause and effect, strategic thinking and problem solving. The use of craft materials such as clay, beads, collage materials, paint, washable inkpads and
stamps, washable markers, and scissors support creative expression and aesthetic awareness. Complex construction sets and accessories allow children to experiment with how things fit and
- work together, increase their fine motor skills, and express their creativity. Fitness and fun materials such as balls, beanbags and jump ropes help children gain self-confidence, exercise, release
- tension, have fun with others, and develop fine and gross motor skills.
- Toys can also be made from readily available items such as fabric, bottles, cardboard boxes, yarn, cooking pans, bangles, pipe cleaners and pinecones.
Some examples of traditionally used toys are:
- a. Ring Set Puzzle: This is a set of seriated rings, made up of wood. Made in Channapatna, Karnataka, it can be used to learn seriation and also helps in development of fine motor and
- gross motor skills, understanding of colour and shape.
- b. Dhingli (Cotton dolls): Dhingli is one of the traditional toy dolls from Gujarat. It is made of cotton and decorated with embroidered cloth in different, attractive colours like red, blue, green, yellow. These dolls are available in small and large sizes. They can be used for dramatic play; they are also used by very small children to nap with to feel secure.
- c. Rasoi (Kitchen set): Rasoi is a set of kitchen utensils used for play by children in many parts of India. They are made of wood and painted to look attractive and appealing.
- NCERT’s handbook on Toy-Based Pedagogy is an excellent guide for this.