Early Childhood Hub

Play-based learning in early childhood education


This video follows childminding early education setting Bobbi’s Explorers, showing a small group of young children learning together through outdoor play. As you watch the video, notice how the practitioner creates opportunities for children to share their own ideas and interests, and values the responses they offer. Specifically: 

  • consider how the practitioner uses the environment and resources available to support children in developing motor skills through play activities.
  • pay attention to how the practitioner themselves engages with the play activities. What role are they taking? What strategies do they use to support children’s play?
  • consider how play activities support children’s personal, social and emotional development. Notice how the practitioner provides opportunities for children to select and use resources and how they promote opportunities for children to play cooperatively. 

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Did you want to have a go with the water, [child’s name]?



[children speaking while playing] 



Does it feel a bit wet? 


So you’ll need to tip that bit up, I think. 


It’s tricky with the lid, isn’t it? Whoop, there it goes. 

I want some help. 

You’d like some help? 


Hm, how could I help you? What do you think? Shall I hold the cup and you could pour? 


[child speaking] 

Woo, glug, glug, glug, glug, glug, out it comes. What are you going to do with that? 

Tip it out. 


Ooh look. My finger’s in it a little bit. There you go. 

Was your finger in it? 

My finger was in it a little bit, yeah. So I just moved it. 

I’m going to paint a tree. 

  1. What are you doing here, [child’s name]? Do you want a little bit of mud in it? 



[child speaking] 

Would you like one of the little spoons? 


You’re going to paint that tree? Lovely. 


[scraping noise] I’m making some curry. Are you helping me? 

I’ve put some water in it. 

Ah, you’ve added some water. Just what I needed. Thank you. Put a little bit more in, like that. 

I need some more water. 

Some more water in your cup? Oh, lovely pouring. Look at that. Did you want me to pass you the water, [child’s name]. 


There you go. 

Oh, lots of water in there now. A lot more runny. 

Put it in there. Put it in there. 

You’d like some water in there? 


Oh, you’re going to put some in the muffin tin. 

I’ll do this as well. 

Are you going to help me stir? Stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir. 

Let’s get some more water. 

More water? I’ll put some of this in. 


It’s really tricky when it’s really full, isn’t it? Yeah. 

There you go. Can I have some? Yeah, once [child’s name] is finished, then she’ll pass it to you and it’ll be your turn. There you go. Thanks, [child’s name].

It’s really full. It’s really full, yeah. The new one is really full.

What are you going to do with that one?

You’re going to pour it in this bowl here? OK.

Want some in the cup. The cup. It’s just behind you.

Can I have the cup? I think [child’s name] is using the cup right now. We haven’t got another one today. These are just the things that we’ve got. So we’ve got this pot that you could use. Or the muffin tin.

[children speaking]

I think maybe [child’s name] is playing with that one actually.

Do you want to pour it in there? Yeah.

I think [child’s name] is about to pour it in there. I think you’ve got this one that you’re using right now. And this one.

I was about to play with this one.

Were you?

Glug, glug, glug, glug, glug.

You can see something in there, can you? I think [child’s name]’s using that one, isn’t she? There’s this here, [child’s name]. Or there’s this one, and there’s this one that you’re holding. 


I’ll get the heavy stick out the way.

There you go. 

I think you might need somebody to help you with that one. With the other side, maybe? Do you want to help him? 

I’m helping him. 

  1. That’s very helpful. Then you can move it. There you go. Did you want to help as well, [child’s name]? 


Might be a three-person job. 

That’s it. You’re going to climb over that way, are you? 


Oh yeah, that’s a very crumbly one, isn’t it? You see how crumbly that is? 

[children speaking] 

  1. Just think about where your stick is, [child’s name]. Yeah, it’s really crumbly, isn’t it? 

I’m OK. 

You want to try? It’s almost spongey. 


Oof. Almost spongey. 


What can you see over the top, [child’s name], anything? Yeah! 

Yeah, see if you can see [child’s name]. Oh, she’s come up behind you. 

[child speaking] 






Are you guys all right if we go round that side?

I got a… A fishing rod? Yeah it looks like it.

Come round this side then if you want to.

  1. Which bit did you fancy? This one.

Oh, hello. We can see you from this side. It does look like a fishing rod. 

[children speaking] 

Yeah, let’s take that one a second, because I think it’s going to hit [child’s name] if she comes up. There we go. 


I’m about to sit down. 

You were about to sit down, were you? 


[children speaking] 


And sit down then? That’s not for standing up there. That’s it. There you go.

Comfy? I heard a choo-choo.

You heard a choo-choo. You heard a train?

[children speaking]


Hello! Hello! 

Hello! Hello! How are you? 


Good? You still got your little fishing rod? 

Yeah. Oh, yeah. 

[children speaking]

I’ve just thrown the little fish back in the water.

The little fish back into the water? 


Sounds like a good idea. 

Do you want to…? What are you up to? Do you want to climb back down?

I think if you want to climb back down, I would go on to your tummy, and then start lowering your feet back down.

Ah, that looks like a really good way to do it. Exactly! And then you’ll be able to slowly find your feet.


That’s it. And then find somewhere to hold your next hand. There you go. You’re down. Oof. 

[children speaking] 

You what, sorry? You want to find a stick? 


There’s lots around. 

[child speaking]

Hello, you’ve come round that side. 


I’m in a car! 

You’re in a car, yeah. I’m in a car as well! 

All three of you are in a car now? 

[makes car engine noise]

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