Learning Through Play: 3 Activities to Try at Home

Father and young daughter play musical instruments together at home

Learning Through Play: 3 Activities to Try at Home

There are few relationships in the world more natural than the relationship between children and play, and playtime provides much more than simple entertainment. Creative play is how young children explore and learn about the world around them, and caregivers can encourage that play-based learning. 

Play to Learn 

Little ones’ rapidly developing brains turn the ordinary into extraordinary during playtime. Play, especially make-believe or pretend play, allows children to explore, imagine, create and interact with others. Pretend play promotes cognitive, language, physical, social and emotional development in children, helping to build a strong foundation for future learning. 

The Primrose Way to Play 

At Primrose, our Balanced Learning® approach balances purposeful play with nurturing guidance and thoughtful questions from teachers to encourage curiosity, creativity, confidence and compassion. 

It starts with meaningful learning experiences that are designed to engage children’s natural curiosity and problem-solving skills. As they play, children learn to cooperate, share, take turns and communicate with their peers. To support and extend the learning, adults may observe and pose questions to encourage the children to explore further and reach their own conclusions, while sharing facts and information that may help to enrich their understanding.

Find a School Near You

Try Play-Based Learning at Home 

While children benefit from playing with others or alone, by guiding make-believe play and play-based activities, you can challenge them to think outside of the box—besides playing together is great for bonding with your little one. 

Helping your child learn through creative play could be you asking what they think their imaginitive story should be about, where will you go in the story, or what could happen next. You can model a skill for your child to use in their adventure and even help them make or incorporate props to further develop stories and play. Remember to follow your child’s lead and get down on their level when you’re playing together. You’ll be amazed at the ideas they offer. Below are a few play-based learning activities to get you started! 

1. Creative Movements (Ages 0–4) 

Act out the movements in the Primrose Harmony & Heart® song below as you and your child bounce, stretch, twist and march to the music. It’s not only fun—it helps develop those big gross motor skills! 

Bounce bounce bounce bounce  
Bouncing bouncing, we will go 
Bouncing bouncing, to and fro 
Bouncing high, bouncing low  
Bouncing bouncing, we will go  
Stretch stretch stretch stretch  
Stretching stretching, we will go  
Stretching stretching, to and fro 
Stretching high, stretching low 
Stretching stretching, we will go  
Twisting twisting, we will go  
Twisting twisting, to and fro 
Twisting high, twisting low  
Twisting twisting, we will go  
Marching marching, we will go  
Marching marching, to and fro  
Marching high, marching low 
Marching marching, we will go! 

2. Pretend Animals (Ages 1-4)  

Inspire make-believe time by reading animal books to your child, such as “The Runaway Bunnyby Margaret Wise Brown or “The Lion and the Mouseby Bernadette Watts. Discuss and ask questions about the behaviors and appearances of different animals. After story time, crawl around on your hands and knees together while pretending to be different animals and making animal noises. 

3. Grocery Bag Costumes (Ages 2-6)

Use large brown grocery bags you may have around the house to create costumes for dramatic play. Let your child lead as you act out different scenarios together in the costumes. If your child is older, you can also suggest writing a short play or story to act out. 


  • First, cut a neck hole at the bottom of the bag, then cut arm holes on each side of the bag close to the neck hole. 
  • Next, cut a straight line through the top layer of the bag. 
  • Help your child decorate their new vest with markers, crayons or paint. 
  • You can also make hats out of paper plates to go with your costumes. 

Participating in make-believe and playtime with your child not only helps them develop but brings the two of you closer together as you spend quality time creating stories, using your imaginations and learning. Enjoy bonding with your little one and the many special moments you have together on your pretend adventures. It will take you back to your childhood and all of the fun you had. 

Find a Primrose School Near You

Inspire a lifelong love of learning. Contact your local Primrose to schedule a tour.

Find A School