Talent Now 323286930 (1)
Talent Now 323286930 (1)

8 Fun Play-Based Learning Strategies for Early Childhood Education

Picture of Liddy Korner
Liddy Korner

Liddy is the founder and CEO. Her previous life was in international education. She’s lived and worked in Sydney, Hong Kong and also boasts a stint in Bathurst. She is the driving force behind Talent Now.

Who said learning can’t be fun?

Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) is a vital part of a child’s early development. It’s also a magical realm where educators hold the keys to unlocking a child’s potential! 

The wonder in a child’s eyes as they discover the world, society and themselves is something special. That’s why it’s essential that we find ways to ignite their curiosity while also teaching them foundational skills. 

If you want to make sure your ECEC environment is one of wonder, excitement, happiness and learning, here are 8 play-based learning strategies you can start using right now!

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What Are Play-Based Learning Strategies in ECEC?

Play-based learning strategies in ECEC are methods of teaching that allow children to develop important life skills in fun and engaging ways.

Unlike more academically structured learning that occurs later in school education, early childhood educators will often prefer to allow learning to progress organically by creating learning-conducive environments and activities. 

What Skills Can Play-Based Learning Strategies Develop?

The Australian early childhood education system is designed to teach a lot more than just academic skills!

The truth is, young children are in need of all kinds of development, from learning how to understand and use their bodies (motor skills), to learning how to play and share (social skills), to understanding the early fundamentals of literacy and numeracy.


Then, on top of those, children need to develop a range of soft skills, like:


  • Communication
  • Emotion regulation
  • Creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Routines and organisation
  • Independence
  • Many more!

So whether you’re an early childhood educator or a parent looking to play a more active role in your child’s education – it’s clear that there is a lot to cover!

That’s why play-based learning strategies are perfect for you, because they often develop both core and soft skills at the same time, plus they are fun!

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8 Fun Play-Based Learning Strategies for Early Childhood Education

1. Group-Based Games 

Playing with friends is the best thing about childhood, and you can leverage its power to make learning fun!

Introduce purposeful play group activities that stimulate creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration. From tag to board games, these activities not only engage children but also lay the foundation for essential social skills.

2. Incorporate Music and Movement

Music has a magical quality that transcends age. No matter how old you are – music can make you move, feel and think.

Incorporate music and movement activities into the daily routine. Whether it’s a dance party, sing-alongs, or rhythm games, these experiences not only bring joy for children, but also enhance motor skills, coordination, and social interaction. 

Plus, if a child has a knack for making music themselves, this is a brilliant way to help them find a passion early in life that nurtures their creativity and self expression. 

3. Bring Nature Indoors

Nature has an innate ability to spark curiosity and happiness. It’s easy to forget as an adult how wondrous the world is, especially as you discover it for the first time!

Natural art projects are one of the best ways to bring the outdoors in. Collect leaves and twigs for nature-inspired crafts, like making leaf prints or twig sculptures. 

Later you can progress to bringing in more interesting natural objects as the child’s understanding of nature grows. In particular, making sensory tables with sand or water is a great way to introduce children to natural science concepts.

4. Celebrate Diversity

Foster a sense of curiosity by celebrating the diversity within the ECEC setting

Introduce multicultural activities, share tales from around the world, and encourage children to bring something special from their cultural background to share. This can be a game, a story, or even a relative.

This not only broadens their worldview while making them proud of who they are, but also instils a natural curiosity about the richness of human experiences.

5. Encourage Imaginative Play

Imagination is a powerful tool for learning. You don’t have to be limited to your physical space when imagining – so encourage fantastical imaginative exploration to really inspire curiosity!

Create dedicated spaces for imaginative play, complete with costumes, props, and toys that are open to interpretation. Whether it’s a make-believe kitchen or a spaceship, allowing children to immerse themselves in their imaginations is an incredible example of play-based learning.

6. Create Engaging Learning Spaces

While a play-based learning strategy may be exciting, if it’s happening in a dull environment that really dampens the mood!

To inspire curiosity and joy, design classrooms with vibrant colours, interactive displays, and thematic areas that capture a child’s imagination. 

While fun is important, so is being comfortable! Incorporate elements that reflect diversity and inclusivity, making every child feel a sense of belonging. This way you’ll have the perfect environment to stimulate, excite and relax a child.

7. Make Learning Personal

No matter what age we are, we love it when someone takes an interest in us!

Recognise the unique interests and strengths of each child and use that to stimulate fun and engaging play. 

Create a “Choice Board” with different activities that children can choose from to decide what they want to explore for the day. It could be a science experiment, painting, building, dress ups – let them guide their learning.

8. Infuse Humour into the Routine

Laughter is a universal language that all ages enjoy. It’s also an incredibly important social skill that becomes more relevant later in life, as humour is essential for connection and navigating social situations. 

Infuse humour into the daily routine with silly songs, funny stories and playful jokes. Humour not only lifts spirits but also creates a joyful atmosphere within the learning environment. Plus, as an educator, this play-based learning strategy lets you have some fun as well! 


Kindergarten teacher with children sitting on the floor having music class, using various instruments and percussion. Early music education

Put Your Play-Based Learning Strategies to the Test with Talent Now!

In the world of Early Childhood Education and Care, educators like you wield incredible influence over the development of young minds. 

By intentionally including fun, happiness, and curiosity into your learning environment, you can set children up for the future in a way that preserves their sense of wonder in the present. 

But what if you’re struggling to get into a classroom – or struggling to find educators to teach in your centre?

Talent Now is a fantastic app that takes the time and frustration out of finding early educator jobs. Whether you’re looking to work or looking for staff, Talent Now can match educators with centres instantly.

And let’s be honest, making it easier to get quality educators into classrooms is a win for everyone – especially the children!

So if you’d like to learn about Talent Now, you can read more. Or if you’d like to download our free app and give it a try, you can find it on the Apple Store or Google Play.

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