What is heuristic play and what is it important for?

The heuristic game is a playful activity by means of which the discovery and the children’s experimentation during their early childhood. It can introduce from 12 months to 2 years, since from this age their playful interests change and this game stops being interesting.

Heuristic play is an activity in which a small group of children explore different unstructured and everyday natural objects (made of leather, metal, paper, wood, cardboard, cork, pinecones, etc.) and also natural containers (made of wood, straw, cardboard, etc.) with which the child can transport, transfer, classify, etc. It is about doing it in a free and spontaneous way. Always avoiding plastic materials or toys .

The game heuristic allows the child to discover the world around them freely and safe. Exercises and enriches the capacities of children by developing their physical, mental, emotional and social skills.

In the game heuristic, the child is the protagonist of his own learning. He alone explore, investigate and discover in a natural and self-guided way.

The game heuristic has multiple benefits:

  • Develop Cognitive abilities : understand, relate, know …
  • Incentive imagination and creativity of the kids.
  • It favors perceptual abilities : works all the senses
  • Develop the motor skills , both thick and thin
  • Helps to become aware of laws of nature (gravity and balance).
  • Helps to promote logical-mathematical thinking
  • Teaches ethical values : respect, collaboration …

The heuristic game session is divided into three phases :

The first is the phase preparatory where the adult prepares the play space, it is about choose three or four types of objects and containers, they are placed distributed through different spaces in the classroom (it can be on a carpet). Has to have objects of different materials and sizes (cardboard, wood and metal). It is It is important to find a space without stimuli for children to explore all objects without distractions.

The second, exploration and combination of objects, the child goes to the objects that most appeals to them attention, explores and manipulates them. Stacks them, fills them, takes them out, turns them, balances them, makes them roll, etc.

And finally, the collection phase , Once the game is over, the children will have to pick up the material in their place correspondent. The adult must guide them to favor the work of classification.

What is the role of the adult in this play?

The adult in this game, after having provided all the material in an attractive way, must remain silent, attentive and observe the course of the game at a strategic point.

You must be attentive to the game and observe its development, since there are no successes or mistakes, there are no guidelines, since it is a free game, you can only interrupt if you consider it necessary, to order objects, encourage a child who is undecided or avoid a conflict. The role of the adult appears active only at the time of collecting and thus inviting the children to classify the materials in the different bags.

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