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Poppy plays with pens

During free play time Poppy chooses some coloured pens and takes them into the soft play area. The practitioner supports her exploration and interests.

Good for looking at

  • Supporting a.s.d
  • Physical development
  • Schemas
  • Signing - Makaton
  • Effective practice


  • The freedom to move her objects of interest to a self-chosen area is helping Poppy learn in a state where she is most comfortable.
  • The practitioner simplifies her own language making the meaning of her words more concrete and easier to remember.
  • Not how teachers might intend their pens to be used! But Poppy is giving us useful information about how we might incorporate sensory interests, schemas and favourite resources in our educational planning.
  • The practitioner brings a song into Poppy’s play, knowing that this may have some appeal. Although there may not be an immediate response, we see a useful return to this later, where it may be helping to extend play.
  • Similarly, we may not always see a response to our signing, but it still has the power to assist with understanding. Are we all regularly using at least basic Makaton in our settings?
  • Poppy is confident to initiate physical communication with her practitioner, taking her hand and leading her. Adult patience, proximity and play commentary have all been used to achieve this.
  • Understanding and valuing rough, sometimes destructive, play is essential for all Early Years practitioners. How is this play with pens an essential part of Poppy’s learning?