What is an invitation to play?
An invitation to play (otherwise known as a provocation or play prompts), is the purposeful set up of a environment so that it “invites” children to a particular area, or set up of play. It prompts children to explore, examine and participate. A great invitation to play will capture a child’s curiosity; it is more intentional placement of certain objects for children to play and learn.
Basically it is preparing items in a way you think children may like to play with them; also great for introducing new items or new ways to play.
But, why use a invitation to play?
My personal belief is this works great with open ended/loose parts resources, as a way of redesigning the ways children can play with a particular item. By presenting toys or materials in a original way, the child’s imagination is sparked! It is also a beneficial way to introduce loose parts items to children who are not yet familiar with these type of resources.
How do you set them up?
There is no right or wrong way to set up an invitation to play; think about how you think the child/ren MIGHT play with an item, and watch and see what happens. Often I will set out a bunch of (what appears to me as...) random items and step back. Like magic children come up with some idea of how to play.
Below are some examples of invitations to play I have created; you can check out more over on our Facebook or Instagram pages.