ICT in the Early Years
E2BN ICT in the Early Years

Play and Exploration

Provide ICT in ways that encourage play and exploration:

  • Provide everyday technology for role-play indoors and out. This does not have to be working technology and could consist of: technology children make with you out of cardboard boxes. e.g. TV’s, computers etc., a range of defunct mobile phones, cameras, keyboards etc, and toys with buttons and buzzers e.g. kettles, answer phones etc. See Planning the Learning Environment.
  • If you have a much loved digital camera that you have had to fund raise long and hard for then you are unlikely to be able to put it out for children’s independent access. As well as sharing it with children when the strap is safely around their necks, provide defunct and toy cameras for role-play. Children will be able to freely play with and explore these, which helps them in the early stages of discovering equipment. See Child development.
  • Provide technology resources in flexible ways to encourage children’s play e.g. add mobile phones to pockets in dressing-up clothes, add key fobs and cameras to bags, torches under a sink or in drawers, put remote control cars out with blocks and make space to build garages or parking areas, add small metal detectors to a tray of sand with hidden ‘treasure’, use collection boxes with a digital microscope for finding things to explore, add tape recorders and story tapes to outdoor reading areas, put out tape recorders with microphones along with story props for retelling stories and so on. Providing resources in flexible ways like this allows children to direct the play in their own ways.
  • Build a ‘junk box’ of defunct technology for children to play with, take apart and explore. Use this as a discussion point for talking about Health and Safety.
  • Check your software. Do you have a balance of ‘content’ based software e.g. a maths program and ‘generic’ software e.g. an art program that can be used freely for different purposes and outcomes.
  • Model playing with and exploring technology e.g. putting messages onto answer phones with the children, building slopes for programmable toys to climb up and so on.
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