Schemas - how children learn through play (Part 1)

Schemas - how children learn through play (Part 1)

Schemas in play. How children learn through play.

Childhood practitioners understand how children learn through play using schemas, but as parents, we may not be aware of how children process their thoughts as they learn to make sense of the world around them. 

Jean Piaget, a childhood psychologist, first used the term “schema” to refer to the building blocks of knowledge that are integrated from prior experiences and slowly coordinated into our learning process.

Parents can observe these as repeated, often impulsive, actions in their children. Rather than stop them from doing what they must, such as knocking objects off tables or turning dials on the stereo, you may want to direct their behavioural tendencies into more appropriate channels.

Knowing the schema that your child is going through will help you support their interest and learning in a safe environment. Here are some of the common schemas that your child may already be working through, along with suggested toys that will help extend their experiences.

Enclosure and Containing

You might think that children who often sit in tunnels and get into boxes are trying to hide from you, but experts suggest this is part of the enclosure schema. Children going through the enclosure/containing schema like putting things into things and can spend hours playing with tiny toy animals and playhouses, such as the HABA Play World Adam’s Farm.

                                                  HABA Play World Adam’s Farm


Do you often find your child wrapping things up or covered in old blankets? Perhaps you can’t stop them burying “treasure” in wet sand. These are part of the enveloping schema, but if messy play isn’t your thing, perhaps let them help Kathe Kruse Waldorf Mini put on her clothes. 

                                    Kathe Kruse Waldorf Mini It’s Me Brown


The transporting schema is strong in a child who has the tendency to push trolleys and carry things in containers from one place to another. To help them engage in the experience of transporting, offer them toys such as doll prams, toy shopping trolleys or the HABA Shovel Excavator for moving sand in. 


                                          HABA Shovel Excavato 


Understanding why children behave in certain ways can help you redirect their behaviour if it becomes inappropriate. Providing them with the right toys can help them channel their tendencies as they engage in meaningful play.

In Part Two, we look at the schemas of Connecting/Disconnecting, Transforming, Trajectory, Rotation and Circulatory, and Positioning.

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Schemas – how children learn through play (Part 2)

Schemas – how children learn through play (Part 2)

Does your child love running around in circles? Or perhaps lining toys up in a row? These behavioural patterns, or schemas, are simply the way children learn through play.

In Part One, we explained what schemas are and why we should know about them. We introduced three of the schemas – Enclosure/Containing, Enveloping and Transporting.

In Part Two, we explore other schemas that children go through as they equip themselves with the skills they’ll need later in life. As parents, we can help support their learning by providing them with appropriate toys or other channels of expression.

Connecting and Disconnecting

The connecting schema is observed in children who like joining things together. Give them the opportunity to tie things up together, gluing paper or connecting train tracks. Children going through the disconnecting schema, however, may appear destructive as they prefer taking things apart and knocking blocks down. Allow them the pleasure of doing so with the HABA Zoom City Play Track.


HABA Zoom City Play Track



Inventing different ways to use things and playing an imaginary character – these are part of the transforming schema. Children going through this schema are not afraid to get messy. They love to be covered up in paint and will certainly be delighted with the Djeco Make-up Set available in various designs.

Djeco Make-Up Set - Tiger


Children with a tendency to run, climb up and down or jump from a height are learning through trajectory movements. These may be vertical, horizontal or diagonal. While they enjoy throwing balls and playing on slides in the outdoors, they may need a more appropriate outlet of expression when indoors. Watching marbles roll down ramps or swinging themselves on this Wobbel balancing board are some of things you’ll find them doing.

Wobbel Original


Rotation and Circulatory

Children going through the rotation/circulatory schema like turning things, exploring curves and circles. They’d readily hop onto a Merry-go-round or help you whisk an egg. Playing with cogs or guiding animals on the circular Hape Jungle Train Journey may just be the thing for them.

Hape Jungle Train Journey Set


Positioning is the schema that includes lining things up, ordering and turning things upside down. Children learning through the positioning schema will appreciate toys like this Erzi Stacking Board.


Erzi Stacking Board Freestyle

Giving your child the toys that match the schema they are working through will not only satisfy their tendency for a repeatable action, it will hold their interest as they learn through play.

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Games to bring the whole family together

Games to bring the whole family together

The end-of-year holiday season is a time of family get-togethers and festive celebrations. For many families, this will be a time of building ties and memories that will last for years to come – especially for the little ones. Entertaining both young and old this Christmas or during any get-togethers need not be challenging. A sure crowd-pleaser, and a definite way to bring in the laughter while spending quality time together is through playing games.

For centuries, games have been a source of fun and entertainment for the whole family and they continue to evolve with every generation. From board games to activity games, they encourage social interaction, build life skills and develop critical thinking skills. 

In the spirit of tradition, Djeco’s Snakes and Ladders retains the classic plot we’ve come to love, minus the menacing snakes. Specially designed for little hands, players are greeted with adorable penguins who must make their way to the last floating ice while trying to avoid fishing nets.

                 Djeco Classic Game – Snakes And Ladders

For those who can’t get enough of traditional board games, there’s the Djeco Classic Game that comes in a variety box of 20 featuring attractive designs of old favourites, including Ludo, Chess and Draughts.

    Djeco Classic Game – Classic Box

Teenagers and adults seeking more challenge and excitement in a board game will love the Haba Adventure Land. Daring in design, it boasts a gameplay that stands up to any video game. With three adventures included, this is a strategy game that tests both courage and life skills. 


Haba Adventure Land


For those who enjoy puzzles, Picassimo by Haba is set to tickle even the most serious-minded and test each player’s perception in a guessing game between artists. Designed using quality material by award-winning illustrator Miguel Coimbra, it includes 3 levels of difficulty for hours of challenging fun.


HABA Picassimo

Haba Picassimo


With so many exciting games to choose from, this leaves you with the challenge of picking one to order or send as a gift. To help you with this, we’ve made it easy by categorizing them according to type, age and even price range. Happy playing!


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Exploring sounds with the best musical toys

Exploring sounds with the best musical toys

Music is so much a part of children’s lives – from singing nursery rhymes to clapping and moving to music – exposure to sounds and musical experiences help nurture the cognitive and social development of our kids, whatever their age.

Every child has a natural sense of rhythm and appreciation of music. The best musical toys engage their innate interest for sounds, facilitate self-expression and are durable, attractive and educational. 

Xyloba ticks all the boxes for a musical toy that provides hours of amusement, creativity and musical challenges. Suitable for 5 years and older, it harnesses the popularity of a marble run that younger kids are familiar with, but with a musical twist.


                                                                                                                           Bella Bimba


Developed by professional musician Samuel Langmeier, Xyloba comes complete with instructions on how to build 12 famous folksongs, with the popular Complete Package for all Melodies kit offering all the components needed. Of course, children will be keen to compose their own tunes, even as they focus on constructing the best marble run they can imagine. With smaller kits to get them started, add-ons and accessories to support their creativity, the Xyloba system grows with your child as they mature to constructing more intricate music, even a Bach tune.

For children below 5 years, percussion instruments make the ideal first instrument for developing large motor skills, teaching rhythm and discovering pitch and sounds. The Haba percussion set offers a variety of suitable instruments they can use to accompany their favourite songs.


                                                                                                                         Haba percussion set


When children are ready to explore playing tunes, encourage copying and self-expression with the Hape Rainbow Xylophone or Djeco Animambo Ukulele.



    Hape Rainbow Xylophone       
                                                                                                                       Djeco Animambo Ukulele


As parents, we know instinctively the benefits of music to our children’s overall development, the importance of which are confirmed by studies revealing that childhood musical experiences improve academic learning, literacy and strengthen memory skills.

So, give your child the best start in life. Give them the gift of a Musical Instrument.



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