We are the Play Learning Lab, run by Dr. Angela Pyle at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto.

© 2020 by Play Learning Lab

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Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study

45 Walmer Road, Room 320
Toronto, ON M5R 2X2

Haunted House

Collaborative Play



Learning Goals: Literacy, Reading, Writing, Mutually-Directed Play


What did this class do?

  • The students decided to build a haunted house in their classroom during the month of October.

  • To begin, the educator provided a structure for the haunted house and had students play within the space to determine what they wanted to add to their haunted house.

  • Next, the students generated a list of items they wanted to add to their haunted house. Using recycled materials provided by the educator, the children worked together to create and add new features to their haunted house.

  • Lastly, the educator supported the children in writing signs and labels for the haunted house.

Suggested Resources:

  • Halloween decorations

  • Cardboard, paper, pencils and markers to create signs, tickets, etc.

  • Blankets



Why is it Collaborative Play?

  • This example started as free play as the children independently started building the haunted house but became collaborative play once the educator got involved.

  • The educator helped the children decide how to use the materials and supported their writing, but the children did all of the designing, building, and labeling.