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Toys to Support Schema Play: Connecting

Posted March 22, 2022

Written by: Melanated Montessori Image by: 100 Toys

Play Schema: Connecting A play schema is a type of repetitive play a child uses to construct a model in their mind of how the world works. It is a method children use to identify patterns and organize the many things they take in and learn each day.

These are universal patterns, but different kids will engage in schema in different ways. For example, some kids dabble in schema, engaging in several at any given time. Others move from one schema to another over time. Others still stay working on a single schema for years.

Once you notice these patterns, your child's seemingly random and (occasionally frustratingly) repetitive actions suddenly appear elegant and purposeful. Best of all, once you realize that they are really exploring a certain schema or two, you can pick activities for them that give them the opportunity to practice them, increasing their engagement and extending their learning.

There are nine most common play schemas: Connecting, Enclosure, Enveloping, Orientation, Positioning, Rotation, Trajectory, Transforming, and Transporting.

Connecting: When exploring this schema, a child might spend a great deal of time connecting things to one another. You may notice that they love to join train tracks together or link LEGOs in towers or long “fences”. They also love to use tape, glue, string, and other things that connect objects.

Joining train tracks, building towers with Lego or wooden blocks, sticking things together with tape - these are all signs of the connecting schema. Perhaps your child likes to join arms with you or other people, to be physically connected somehow. Connecting also includes disconnecting, which is why a child might build a tower of blocks, only to knock it down afterward - or knock down someone else’s.

In exploring the idea of connecting your child is beginning to understand how certain things come together and others fall apart, ideas of strength, magnetic force, stickiness, and slippiness are all understood through connecting.

Understanding that this is a normal urge and allowing it to happen in a safe environment will give your child many happy hours of play.

Below are some toys to help support your child’s exploration.

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