Math PK-2

Systems Change

Guided Play


Teaching students through guided play encourages them to take an active role in their learning and supports the development of a broad array of cognitive skills. Guided collaborative play also promotes the development of more complex social interactions, supporting students' social and emotional learning. Finally, engaging students in math-specific play activities (e.g., board games and collaborative play with building blocks) related to learning goals can deepen students' understanding of many math skills, such as Counting and Estimation.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch how this teacher engages with her students in guided play. While the students play with blocks, the teacher asks questions to further their understanding of mathematical concepts within the play context.

  • For students to engage in guided play, teachers must create a student-directed environment with lightly scaffolded learning objectives. Teachers can then support student exploration and learning by co-playing, commenting on their discoveries, asking open-ended questions, and exploring the materials in imaginative ways.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    Learn how PLAY LAB promotes exploration of shapes, colors, and numbers in an open-ended, fun environment. By embracing learners' curiosity and creativity, this app gives users the freedom to experiment freely while learning foundational math skills.

  • Products can embed playful learning opportunities, such as shape games and virtual blocks, in activities linked to learning objectives to support more developed understanding of foundational math skills like geometry, Counting, and Spatial Skills.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy