Schemas, Schematic Play

What are schemas in children’s play?

Schemas is the name given to the behavioural urges that children often display during their play, for example, line up their toys in a row, throwing things or hiding in small places.  Most importantly, they are natural building blocks for brain growth because these repeated behaviours forge connections in the brain that lead to learning and  greater understanding.

Here are ten of these schemas (natural play urges) briefly described: –

Connection
Joining together with construction toys such as click bricks or stringing items together are examples of the connection schema. Disconnection and destruction are also part of this schema.
connection
container
Enclosure/Container
Filling containers with water, climbing into boxes, making fences for the animals are all ways that children demonstrate the enclosure/container schema.
Enveloping
Putting a sheet over your head, wrapping things up are both examples of the enveloping schema.
Orientation
The urge to hang upside down or get a viewpoint from under or on top of the table are part of the Orientation schema. This experience of hanging of upside down is very useful for brain development.
Positioning
The positioning schema can involve lining up the toy cars, ordering the books on the shelf, turning the plates upside down and just tidying-up.
positioning
Rotation
The rotation schema involves anything that goes around and anything that is circular – wheels, spinning around, drawing circles.
Trajectory
Describes the urge to throw or drop items and interacting with things that are already moving. It also describes moving the whole body such as jumping and climbing.
transformation
Transformation
Play such as mixing water and mud or mixing ingredients in a bowl when cooking.  Transformation is about combining two or more items together which result in making something that looks or feels different from the original item.
 
Transporting
This is the urge to carry lots of items in your hands or in containers such as buckets and baskets. It can also be transporting items in containers with wheels, such as a toy trolley.
transporting
Conclusion
If parents know about these schemas it is helpful because they can encourage them and provide more opportunities. This will support  and promote their child’s natural development.

Kim’s play with nature activity ideas are free every month and can be used to support schematic play.

 Get different ideas each month to help your child develop their love of nature.

Click on the ‘Play with Nature’ freebie button.

Kim Mackenzy Andrews
Kim Mackenzy Andrews

Kim holds degrees in primary education, education leadership and in art and contemporary art history. She is passionate about helping parents to develop their child's love of nature in today’s tech dependant world. Kim's books are all about discovering nature and wildflowers. Kim is also patch reporter for the BBC wildlife magazine. Find her nature blog at CountrysideKim.com

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