Resource: Play & Learn

Research shows that parents and caregivers have an important role in supporting early child development and this can happen through play! Play&Learn provides a variety of expert-reviewed activities that support a child’s growth. Activities focus on practicing skills in one of four developmental domains: Thinking & Learning, Social & Emotional, Movement and Language.

The collection of activities has been chosen to be beneficial for one of three age groups: toddlers (1.5 to 2.5 years); preschoolers (over 2.5 years to 4 years); and kindergarteners (over 4 years to 6 years). Most Play&Learn activities can be completed in less than 15 minutes and require little equipment to get started. Suggestions are provided to make the activities easier or more challenging depending on your child’s unique capabilities.

Developed by experts at McMaster University, Play&Learn makes playtime fun for everyone. Learn more at

Sample activity:

kindergarten-directionsDirections (Understands)

Up or Down, Under or Over – Let’s learn basic spatial relationships!

Setup: 0-5 minutes

Time required: 5-10 minutes

Materials: Cars and blocks or other toys.

How to Play: Name and demonstrate different directions (forward, back, up, down) and spatial relationships (under and over, in front and behind, etc.) using your child’s toys. Ask your child to tell you how to build a tower by using directions. You can also play with toys or cards asking your child to direct where they go.

Some Tips: Take turns with your child and give them directions!

Make it Easier: You start by building and describing what you are doing. “I will put this block in front of the other one.” Then ask them to help direct. “I want to make the tower taller, where should I put my next block?”

Make it Harder: Before building the tower, ask them what type of tower they want to build (e.g., tall, wide) and then plan the structure (a tall tower will need many blocks on top of each other).


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