In our last post, I talked about the concept of “Schemas of Play”.

Today I want to give you some ideas of resouces which will help develop these play schemas!

So if you haven’t quite finished your Christmas shopping yet, hopefully these ideas will help! 


What are schemas of play? 


They are the urges your babies and children have which compel them to play with certain things or do things over and over again! They are completely natural, uncontrollable urges that your babies and children need to do to help them form connections in their brain and help them to learn about the world and develop their understanding of it.


To recap from our last post, please read below for a definition of each play schema, followed by some top tips!




The need to hang upside down, see the world from the top of the table or from under it – the need to see the world from all angles is all part of the orientation schema. Movement is also is also essential for babies and children as they NEED to move in all different positions in order to regulate their bodies and calm down. 

Top Tips

If you want to do some upside down action in your house, in our “Bond With Baby” classes we teach you safe baby yoga head inversions you can do with your your children from 3 months old plus. For older toddlers, a fun game of horsey horsey where your little one finishes by hanging backwards over your legs is always fun!  

A resource I love for babies to safely climb  jump, roll and play rough and tumble on is this IKEA Folding Gym Mat. I LOVE this mat as it can be used for so many different things – as you can see our 4 year old currently loves using them to build a fort!



This schema involves learning about how objects are positioned in the world and can involve lining up cars, toys, dolls etc. in a row or arranging toy food into different ways on a plate, sticking stickers in a book (or on the wall!!) etc. – this schema stays alive in us all as we grow into adulthood!

Top Tips 

Simply observe what objects your baby and child is into at the moment and then expand on that! E.g. If they are showing great interest in cars, pop into your local charity shop and buy some new ones for them to line up! If they are loving sorting objects into different patterns, give them some natural objects e.g. acorns, pebbles, other loose parts to sort with.

Loose parts play is a hugely important part of your baby and child’s learning and I highly recommend you taking the time to watch this short video by East Lothian Play Association to find out more! 


Learning about how objects and materials connect (and disconnect) from each other.

Top Tips 

magnetic trains, stickle bricks, lego, open and close velcro books, playdoh, paper chains,  building a sandcastle then destroying it!



This schema is all about learning about movement – How babies and children move and how other things move too. A need to climb, jump off things, put their hands under water when it’s running, and of course the need to throw things and drop their dinner off their high chair! Over and over again!! 


Top Tips 

Balls! And a ball pit! Balls and a ball pit can meet your baby and toddler’s learning needs  in so many ways – they can climb in and out of the pit, move the balls over and under their hands, throw the balls…. Also, when your baby likes to throw their food from their high chairs, try placing a few balls on their tray along with their food for them to throw instead! 

These fab wooden rainbow climbing frames also make a great addition to any home with a baby or toddler – they are more pricey than some toys, but they will last and will be played with for a very long time for sure! 


Their urge to climb inside a cardboard box, fill cups with water, put boxes and cubes in and out of each other, hide your keys in the washing basket, this is the enclosure/container schema! 

Top Tips 

A cardboard box! Or another great resource which babies and children love are treasure boxes full of household items and sensory toys they will love to explore. In our Bond With Baby classes we always have treasure baskets filled with items for your babies to play with!

I always include yummirings and yummikeys teething toys in our class treasure baskets as they tick all of the boxes for babies! Tactile, jangly and great fun to play with, as well as being fantastic for teething too of course!

Stacking cups and boxes are also great for little ones to play with to support this schema and this wooden rainbow is ideal for stacking, sorting and building.  You can buy this and lots more fantastic wooden and quality toys from The Edinburgh Baby Co which is a super local business based in Edinburgh. 


When you see your little one attempting to carry all 10 of their toys in their hands, or in buckets, baskets and jars this is them learning about how they can transport objects! If you can give them something to transport their treasured items which has wheels they will love this even more!

Top Tips

Trolleys, Wooden push & pull along carts, Baskets, Backpacks and Buckets!


Covering their (and your head!), hiding under jackets, wrapping things up, playing peekaboo – this is all about learning what happens when things disappear then reappear. Peekaboo is such a popular game and also helps your baby feel safe that you will always reappear

Top Tips

Juggling scarves (which you can buy on Amazon) are  firm staples in all of my classes as they are tactile and babies and babies and toddlers just love them! 

Another firm favourite is this parachute.  With adult supervision, juggling scarves and parachutes will be perfectly save to use with babies of all ages. 

For older babies and children, parachutes will still be a firm hit. Also, dressing up clothes or dressing up dolls and toys may be popular, or simply wrapping and unwrapping boxes! And of course, hide and seek – a game that always stands the test of time and is perfect for the Christmas holidays. 


The fascination with watching things which go round and round (why your baby and toddler loves watching the washing machine!), making things rotate (cars, wheels, balls, wooden reels etc), and moving their own bodies in a circular movement is a fun developmental urge children need to do.

Top Tips

Balls, wooden reels added to a treasure basket for babies, any toy with wheels! Traditional toys such as spinning tops. Another item which our 2 children have loved and has been fantastic when we have not been able to get out to the local park is this children’s IKEA Swivel Chair. It allows your child to spin themselves round and round whenever they get the urge! 


The urge to transform materials from one thing to another – be it holding food in their mouth to see what it turns into (mush!), mixing peas into custard, mixing flour and water to make playdough, mixing paints and of course slime! 

Top Tips

A mud kitchen! This way your little ones can take their inner scientist and chef outside and mix mud, home made playdoh, slime and whatever they fancy to their hearts content! You can buy excellent locally made mud kitchens from many suppliers these days and last year Santa brought our Hannah a fantastic mud kitchen which she loves but you can also make your own out of wooden boxes! A stick, a wooden box and some mud  will keep many children happy for hours! 

It can be so fascinating watching our babies and children play when we have knowledge of these play schemas.

These schemas don’t happen in a linear way or stop at a certain age. All babies and children are individuals and have a need to undertake these “urges” at different times and our job as parents and carers is to support our children to have fun while exploring them, safely! Next time your child is climbing on the table know that they REALLY can’t help it and  perhaps move them to somewhere they can climb safely? (even if its only on you!).

I hope these tips have helped! And I would love to hear your suggestions too! 


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