learning through play

Hi everyone! It’s been way too long since my last blog post, and it feels good to be back!

Today, I’d like to share an encounter I had with a Pre-K student during play time a few weeks ago…

This student came up to me with a piece of paper and a pencil and began drawing horizontal and vertical lines across the page to create a grid. The student then said to me “Let’s play tic tac toe!” The student started out by drawing an “O” in one of the boxes, and then passed the pencil to me and prompted me to draw an “X”. After going back and forth a few turns, the student exclaimed “I blocked you!” when placing an “O” in a box. After the student had several Os in a row, they drew a line through the Os, connecting them (and symbolizing that they had won the game).

When I reflected on this play experience later, I was taken aback at just how much information this small interaction gave me about this particular student. From this minute or two of tic tac toe play, I could discern that this child:

  • had played tic tac toe before at home
  • could draw vertical and horizontal lines
  • understood that tic tac toe was played on a drawn board made up of boxes
  • could hold a pencil with a tripod grasp
  • knew what X and O were and how to draw them
  • understood the rules of turn taking
  • grasped the concept of tic tac toe and how to win by getting several letters in a row
  • had seen someone else draw a line through the winning letters to signify a win

We often think about children learning through play, but this was an important reminder of all of the things that adults can learn about students’ holistic development through play. There is truly nothing like observing and engaging in play with children to understand them and get to know them! I consider myself so lucky to get to learn alongside my early years students in my classroom each day.

What have you learned about a student through observing their play? Share your thoughts in a comment on this post!

That’s all for today! Just wanted to do a quick blurb to jump back into blogging.

Until next time,



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s