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October Blog 2022: Schemas.

October 22, 2022


Photo by Łukasz Nieścioruk on Unsplash


Happy Half-Term and a very Happy Halloween




What is a schema? Schemas are described as patterns of repeated behaviour which allow children to explore and express developing ideas and thoughts through their play and exploration. The repetitive actions of schematic play allow children to construct meaning in what they are doing.

By watching closely and noticing the patterns of children’s play, you can give them other activities and toys that match that schema, which will hold their interest as well as helping them with the stage of development that they are currently working through.

For example, some children like to put a collection of objects into a larger container. This might offer a clue to other things that they might enjoy and be interested in, which in turn can extend their learning and thinking.




Examples of schemas observable in young children’s activities


Schema Observable activity Extend the activity
Trajectory – vertical and horizontal  




Bouncing balls

Throwing and kicking

Climbing and jumping

Water play with pipes and gutters

Playing with running water from a tap

Marble runs

Climbing steps





Chase and catch bubbles.

On a windy day play with scarves and ribbons.

Throw balls or sponges at a target.

Play on swings and trees.

Water play with different containers including funnels.




Fascination with spinning machines i.e. washing machine

Play with toys with wheels

Fascination with keys Rolling and spinning Painting with large circular motion

Circle games


Explore toys with wheels and cogs.

Use different sized balls for throwing, catching and kicking.

Play with rattles, windmills, roundabouts and spinning toys.




Filling and moving objects in trucks and bags

Pushing other children in pushchairs and prams



While in the garden or out and about in your community, gather twigs, fir cones, sticks and leaves.

Children will enjoy exploring, sorting.


Enveloping and containing space







Climbing into boxes

Filling containers

Covering themselves up

Wrapping dollies and teddies

Building dens

Painting whole sheets of paper one colour

Wrapping or covering items in craft activities


Play with tents, tunnels and cardboard boxes. Play hide and seek.

Dress up with scarves, hats and bits of material.




Train tracks and trains

Construction Junk modelling





Make jewellery by threading pasta onto string.

Create models using junk materials.

Peg up cards, photographs or washing.


Orientation Turn objects and themselves around and upside down

They may bend over and look at the world backwards through their legs.

They enjoy seeing things from a different view when exploring using cardboard tubes, binoculars or a magnifying glass.


Lots of energetic play to climb, roll and tumble.

Visits to local parks to use climbing frames and explore trees.

I spy games and mini beast hunts in the garden or park using binoculars bought or homemade out of cardboard tubes.



















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