What is an invitation to play?


An ‘invitation to play’ is a term that is used to refer to a carefully prepared and visually appealing arrangement of materials or activities that invite children to engage in open-ended play. It is a deliberate setup created by an adult or educator to capture children's interest, ignite their imagination, and encourage them to explore and interact with the materials provided.

The purpose of an invitation to play is to stimulate children's curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving skills. It is designed to spark their natural inclination for play and discovery, promoting independent thinking and exploration. By setting up an inviting and thoughtfully arranged play area, adults create a space where children can engage in self-directed and imaginative play.

An invitation to play can take many forms depending on the interests and developmental needs of the children involved. It can include various materials, such as sensory materials (e.g., sand, water, playdough), loose parts (e.g., natural materials, blocks), art supplies, or items that can encourage physical activity. The arrangement is often aesthetically pleasing or placed in a particular location with the intent to capture children's attention and draw them into the play experience.

For example, an invitation to play to encourage physical activity might be to put out hoops. Placing the hoops on the floor in a pattern to move through or placing items such as bean bags near to them may invite jumping and throwing. Importantly, if the children would like to pick the hoops up and explore them in a different way that should also be encouraged.

Overall, an invitation to play is an intentional and inviting setup that encourages children's active involvement, imagination, and exploration. It provides an opportunity for children to initiate their own play experiences and supports their overall development in areas such as language, social skills, fine motor skills, and problem-solving abilities.

Many more invitations to play can be found on  this website.