Learning Through Play

Play is the primary way children learn about their world. Children’s growth is dependent on the sensory information they receive through vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell. The groundwork is laid for perception and cognitive skills as the children expand, modify and adapt through their sensory experiences. This page has been created for parents by parents to provide you with playful sensory experiences to share with your children during their formative years of growth and development.

Bubble Solution

Pour these two ingredients into a large container.

250 mL (1 cup) dishwashing liquid
500 mL (2 cups) warm water
Add the following.
50 mL (1/4 cup) glycerin (purchase from the drug store)
5 mL (1 tsp) sugar


50 mL (1/4 cup) light corn syrup
Stir enough just to mix.

Make your own wands from pipe cleaners, plastic strawberry baskets, kitchen colanders, lids from sour cream or yoghurt containers with holes punched through.

Frozen Bubbles

Blow bubbles onto a plate and place in the freezer. In a few minutes, you’ll have frozen bubbles.


Play Activities to Strengthen Your Child

Use plastic links or a string to attach to one of your child’s much-loved toys.
Have your child sit in front of you. Dangle the toy in front of your child at her eye level and have her try to reach for the toy. Allow her success so she remains motivated; however, do try to have her reach farther each time. Vary the reach to the right side, left side, and front.
If your child loses interest, try another toy or set the activity aside for another day.

Row Your Boat

This is an excellent song to use when working on strengthening your child’s stomach and neck muscles. Vary the rhythm (fast/slow) of the song; support your child by holding her hands, but allow her to pull herself up using her stomach muscles (do not pull on her hands).

Head Control and Neck Strengthening

Place your child on the floor (on a rug or blanket) on her tummy. Show her toys or objects that she might find interesting placed above her eye level so she will have to hold her head up to look at and reach for the objects.

Matching and Sorting Games

SortingThis skill can be taught doing everyday activities.

Have your child help you sort clean laundry – socks with socks, pants with pants, shirts with shirts etc. When your child progresses to reading readiness, write the words of the items to be sorted on a card (i.e. socks, shirts) and have your child sort and match the items to the words on the cards. In time, you can have your child sort clothes by family member.

Matching Objects
Use everyday objects such as spoons, forks, apples, oranges, blocks, toy links, same size and colour spools of thread, lids, socks, shoes, plastic cups and plates (anything that you have 2 of on hand). How to play: Two sets are required. Place one of the apples, blocks, and spools of thread in front of your child. Place the other apple beside the apple so your child sees the idea. Give your child the other block and give him a chance to place it beside the other block. Your child may require hand-over-hand help. This activity can be varied with different objects and once your child has the idea of matching, you may increase the number of objects to be matched.


Clean-up time is an excellent activity for sorting. If possible, a shelf/basket/box for each type of toy is helpful. Help your child put each item back in its place – the books here, the puzzles there, blocks in this box, and so on.


Once the utensils (forks, spoons, butter knives) have been washed and dried, have your child put them back in the cutlery tray in the proper slots.

Magic Mud

5 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
food colouring

How to make Magic Mud

1. Spoon the cornstarch into the mug.
2. Add the water and stir. It should be difficult to stir, even when the water and cornstarch are fully mixed.
3. Colour your Magic Mud with your choice of food colouring. (Don’t add too much food colouring or your mud will become runny. If this happens, add a little cornstarch until the mud feels like it did in step 2.)
4. Squeeze a small quantity of Magic Mud between your fingers and roll it into a ball or sausage.

What happens when you stop squeezing the mud? When you press the mud, it feels solid because you squeeze out some of the water. But when you stop squeezing, water flows back again and the mud becomes runny.


Art Activities

Start saving materials to use in art activities with your child as soon as you can. Art is fun and your child will get to practice her fine motor skills, develop language, and increase her imagination.

Material to save for use in art projects:

acorns, aluminum foil
beads, buttons
candy wrappers, cardboard, candles
cellophane, chalk, checkers, cloves
cotton balls, confetti , costume jewellery
dried beans, dried pasta , dry cereals
egg cartons, egg shells, emery boards
feathers, felt , food colours, fur, fabric scraps
gift wrap, glitter, gold and silver threads, google eyes, gravel
lace, leather scraps
magnets, metallic papers
paint sample chips, paper, paper muffin cup liners
paper tubes, pebbles, pine cones, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks
sand, sandpaper, sequins, shoe strings, soap, sponges, spools
stickers, straws, string, styrofoam
tape, thread, tree bark
wine corks
and anything else you can think of!!!

Putting things in a container

Plastic tub (i.e. the type you get from the grocery store – preferably see-through or a coffee tin). Poker chips (cheaply purchased from the dollar store) or baby food jar lids. Make a slit in the container’s lid so the chips/lids fit through easily. Give your child one chip/lid at a time and have the child put the chips/lids in one at a time.

Teaching Colours

Start with red or yellow. Use a bag or basket for collection and then look around the house for items in that colour. Objects such as toys(blocks are good), clothes, household items, paper, coloured pencils etc.