March 3, 2023

Play-based Learning In Preschool

Posted March 3, 2023

Children thrive and learn best when they are in the state of play. At Kids On The Move, we offer a play-based Preschool and Child Care. The key is to build our play-based learning curriculum, teach practices on trust and relationship, and create a safe and nurturing environment.

The benefits for children learning through wonder and play-based learning curriculum are endless.

  1. Play satisfies a child’s need for social interaction with peers.
  2. Hands-on play using tools help a child focus their attention.
  3. Children who play in the sun benefit from Vitamin D, making the body healthier and stronger with less likelihood of chronic disease.
  4. Inspiring indoor and outdoor learning spaces improve children’s development and wellbeing, encourage imagination and creativity, and change behavior. Challenging obstacles are viewed as an opportunity where possibilities emerge.
  5. Children thrive when they engage in beautiful environments with natural elements.
  6. They learn to respect boundaries, take turns, and follow rules through play-based learning.


The teachers took the children outside to Kids On The Move’s Nature Classroom. In one area, there is a mud kitchen where several children congregated. At the other end of the Nature Classroom is a large pile of different types of stones where other children positioned themselves.

At the “Mud Kitchen”, a child named Sarah said: “I’m going to make apple pie because I like apples and I like pie. You can have some of my pie.”

Another child, Nora, responded: “I’m going to make chocolate cake. I like cake better. Especially chocolate cake. But you can have some of my cake and I can have some of your pie.”

A third child named Jane chimed in and said, “Can I play?”

Sarah responded with: “Okay, what do you want to make? I’m making apple pie and she is making chocolate cake. These are going to be so, so, so, so good.”

More children join in, and one wants to sell the baked goods, while another sets a table for a delectable lunch.

Stirring, scooping, beating, and patting ensued. “Not quite right” one of them said, so she adds more water, a little more mud, some tiny leaves, and grass. They carefully measured grainy watery mud drips into pie pans, cake pans, and muffin tins. Then they carefully carry their delicious efforts of creativity to a shelf where they are all baked at once for 3 minutes. While their masterpieces are baking, a lot of discussion ensues about how many people are coming and who is invited or not invited. Is there going to be enough food? What else do they need to prepare to be ready for guests? How much does their food cost? What else should we fix?

What did they learn from this play?

Transporting: Carrying water, dirt, sand, concoctions, leaves twigs

Transforming: Mixing dirt and water; adding stones and leaves for the right consistency

Trajectory: Mashing, pounding, sprinkling, dumping, and pouring

Rotation: Stirring, mixing, whisking, blending, and swirling

Enclosing/enveloping: Placing creations inside containers

Connecting/disconnecting: Placing a lid on a pot; tearing leaves off a stem; breaking and tearing apart

Communication: Collaborating, teamwork

Other: Social appropriateness, emotional regulation

This play-based activity created a meaningful experience that these children talk about often. Children don’t just play for fun; they play to learn.


Need some ideas for preschool learning activities? Coming up with ideas that incorporate play based learning into educational early childhood activities can be difficult. Here are some fun play-based learning activities for preschoolers:

  1. Treasure Hunt: Hide toys or objects around the room and give your little ones clues to find them. This will help them with problem solving and critical thinking skills.
  2. Play with Play-Doh: Play-Doh is a classic material that encourages creativity and fine motor skills. You can use cookie cutters, rolling pins, and other tools to make different shapes and creations.
  3. Dress Up Fun: Encourage your child to express themselves and develop their imagination by dressing up in costumes and acting out different scenarios.
  4. Sensory Bins: Fill a bin with various materials, such as rice, beans, or pasta, and let your child explore and play with the textures.
  5. Building Blocks: Building blocks of different shapes and sizes can be used for imaginative play and to teach your child about balance and structure.
  6. Art Projects: From finger painting to collage, art projects provide an opportunity for children to express themselves and develop fine motor skills.
  7. Nature Walk: Take a walk in the park or in your backyard and have your child collect natural items, such as leaves, rocks, and sticks. This is a great way to encourage observation and exploration skills.
  8. Cooking Fun: Let your child help you in the kitchen by measuring ingredients, stirring, and even decorating treats. This is a fun way to teach basic cooking skills and encourage creativity.

Remember, the most important part of play-based learning is to have fun and let your child lead the way!

Learn more about Kids On The Move’s Preschool HERE, or email to set up a tour of our Child Care and Preschool campus in Orem, Utah.