Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Playful Learning

Learning Goals: Literacy, Read Aloud, Oral Language Development, Mutually-Directed Play


  • Read, “Mattland” by Hazel Hutchins, a story about young children creating their own imaginary worlds through found materials in outdoor play.

  • Then, bring the class outside to inspire children to create their own "Mattland".

  • Give each child a hula hoop to create their own imaginary world.

  • Guide the construction of children's imaginary worlds by asking open ended questions that encourage children to reflect upon what they included in their "Mattland" and the significance of these objects.

Suggested Resource(s):

  • Mattland by Hazel Hutchins

  • Hula hoops

Why is it Playful Learning?

  • The educator came up with the idea (chose the story, led a read aloud, brought the children outside to create their own imaginary worlds), the children had full control over the construction of their "Mattland". The play was mutually-directed.

  • After initiating the idea, the teacher took on the role of facilitator, by encouraging children's process of construction (i.e. their explanation of their "Mattland") rather than the product.

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.



Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study

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

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