Introduce materials such as play dough, paper, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, etc. for children to manipulate.
Adults can observe the child’s experimentation with the material, then demonstrate a use, such as tearing into pieces, wrapping an object, pulling, rolling, etc.
The child will experiment and copy the adult’s actions with the materials. Once the child knows the potential actions on the materials, the child will repeat the actions and move into experimentation.
Help early childhood educators and parents understand the importance of letting children make a mess. When children learn to tear, stretch, snip, roll, and manipulate materials, they learn the potential options they can use in the future. Experimentation, repetition, and discovery are critical to learning.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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