Activities | Following children’s lead – learning through play

How do you go about planning activities for your children? Do you let them take the lead and play their own games? Do have have activities set up each day? It can be really hard trying to get the balance. We’ve recently posted about ‘creating an invitation to play’ (you can read that one here). Today we’re going to be discussing following children’s lead and expanding on a particular interest that they show.

We know children learn through play, but creating an stimulating home learning environment will allow them to learn even more. As nannies it is best practice to provide this for the children in our care and actually one of the best ways to do this is by following children’s lead and then extending on their interests. Providing them with the resources to expand on their investigative learning and where possible including all Areas of Learning as laid out in the Early Years Foundation Stage, (EYFS).

Lets look at the Areas of learning that we should try to include when planning activities:

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development
  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design

The example that I bring to you today is a Postman themed activity, expanding on my charges interest in the Postal Service. My 4 year old chose the book below at the library as he’s very interested in peoples jobs. (We’ve previously read about the Recycling Officers role and how important recycling is).

I have tried to tie all of the Areas of Learning into the activities we carried out. The great thing about following a Childs interest is that you don’t know where it will take you and there are endless opportunities for play.

I then decided we would make a post box as he had been carrying a bag over his shoulder and making ‘letters’ with folded up pieces of paper. The perfect chance for a crafting activity. Here we are exploring ‘expressive arts and design‘. The children loved painting the box and creating a post box for them to use for posting letters.

We can also bring ‘mathematics‘ into this activity by counting letters as we empty the post box, counting stamps, as well as looking at the shapes of envelopes and parcels. Funnily enough my charges have also been wrapping items to create parcels.

Expanding with the post theme we read the books below, which means we are involving ‘literacy’ and ‘communication and language’ as well as writing letters and envelopes. (It turns out we already had more postman books than we realised)!


The activity as a whole is helping children’s ‘understanding of the world’. Whilst the role-play aspect of pretending to be the postman helps with ‘personal, social and emotional development’.

Read more about the EYFS here.

© pocketnannies 2017


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