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Innovation in Play-Based Education 

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These days, play-based education is a hot topic. It’s also a topic that’s been around for a long time way before you were born! Since I’ve been teaching young children at the Denver Children’s Museum for more than 15 years now, I’ve seen some of the most innovative trends in this field. Here are my personal top five ways that innovation has changed how we teach kids: 

Traditional Play Based Education 

Play-based education is a mindset, not a curriculum. It’s an iterative process that goes on every day in your classroom and with every child. As you can see from the timeline above, there are many different ways to approach play-based learning and they’re all valid! However, if you’re looking for some guidance on how to incorporate some traditional aspects of play into your classroom or school setting (or if someone else is asking), here are some tips: 

  • Create clear rules and boundaries around safety, behavior expectations, and respect for others’ property. 
  • Have materials available so that kids can explore their curiosity without having to ask permission first and make sure those materials are age-appropriate! Think about what types of activities would be interesting for each stage of development (see below). 

Future of Play-Based Education 

The future of play-based education is a future where we are able to take the best of what has been learned and make it available to all children. Play-based education is a mindset, not a curriculum. It’s what we do as teachers, parents, and caregivers when we engage with children in the world around them. We need to find ways to support teachers and parents with their own learning as they continue on this journey with us! Play-based education is not about a specific curriculum or materials. It’s about providing children with opportunities to play and explore in their own ways, and then supporting them as they develop their own ideas, thoughts, and skills. In this way, play can be used to support all students not just those who are falling behind. 

What is Play-Based Education? 

Play-based education is not a curriculum, it’s a mindset. It’s an iterative process where teachers and students collaborate to design learning experiences that are meaningful for each individual child. The opposite of traditional education, play-based learning focuses on the process rather than the content. In other words: how children learn is more important than what they learn or when they learn it (or even if). Play-based learning is a change in how play-based education. It’s not a curriculum or program, it’s an approach to teaching and learning that focuses on the process of play and collaboration. 

Play-based education is an iterative process

Play-based education is a mindset, not a curriculum. We know that play-based education is an iterative process, but we are making progress! Playful learning is the process of creating experiences and interactions that help children develop their full potential as learners while they explore the world around them. The goal of this blog post is to provide an overview of how play-based learning has evolved over time so we can better understand where it’s going next. The concept of play-based learning has its roots in the early 20th century. In 1918, Maria Montessori developed her own method of teaching children through materials and experiences that were both engaging and developmentally appropriate for their age. 

Play Based Education has a long history 

Play-based education has a long history. It began in the early 1900s when Maria Montessori created her first classroom for children to learn through play. The first home-based program was developed by Dr. Emmett Miller in the 1920s and called Parent University, where parents were taught how to teach their own children through play activities at home. 

In the 1960s, Dr Miller’s work inspired other educators who created similar programs throughout North America including Dr Reuben Hill’s Natural Approach Curriculum which focused on bringing nature into school classrooms using outdoor experiences as part of learning activities; and Mr John Holt’s School Without Walls which taught students life skills rather than academic ones so they could become independent thinkers (Holt, 1964). 

Play Based Education is a mindset, not a curriculum 

Play-based education is a mindset, not a curriculum. It’s an iterative process with a focus on learning by doing and learning through play. Play-based education isn’t just about playing games or using toys; it’s about creating an environment where children can explore, create, imagine, and learn from their own experiences. Play-based education focuses on five key principles: Learning by doing, Learning through play (not just with) toys but also everyday objects like blocks or books; these could be used as props for storytelling or drama activities, Engaging children in meaningful conversations to help them develop social skills such as sharing ideas with others. 


Play Based Education is not a curriculum. It’s a mindset and an iterative process. The most important thing you can do as an educator is to keep asking yourself “What does play look like in my classroom?” and then keep finding ways to answer that question. There’s no right answer, but there are many wrong ones! When we get stuck in our own ways of doing things, we need to step back and ask ourselves what would happen if we tried something different. This can be scary at first because it feels risky or even impossible at times, but remember: none of us have all the answers when it comes down this path of discovery (and that includes me!).