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Play schemas: Enclosers/containers

Children with this schema will make elaborate farms with animals in fields, gather objects into boxes and other containers and put outlines and borders round their drawings. The railways track will be constructed as a loop, never just a straight line and the duple bricks will be arranged as a wall around the edge of the board. Children with this dominant schema may enjoy emptying spaces/containers as much as creating and filling them. 

Play ideas: 

  • A good selection of farm animals with plenty of fences and gates. 
  • Railway and road tracks that can be made as loop, with vehicles of course. 
  • Construction toys like lego/duplo, stickle bricks and wooden blocks for making enclosures. 
  • At bath time or in a water tray offer old shape and bubble bath containers, spoons and funnels for filling. 
  • Sandplay in an enclosed tray. 
  • Make borders for artwork. 
  • Popular resources to keep in stock include boxes, buckets, shopping baskets, trolleys, a builders tray, jigsaws that can be completed in the box, drawing materials e.g. highlighter pens for outlines and borders. 
  • Role play ideas - boxes will be much appreciated by enclosures/containers and you may find other children have become involved, for example as sheep who are being fenced in. You can make trains with them and fill the carriages with toys. Just put out some large boxes and see what your chilld does. 

Story book idea - Whatever Next by Jill Murphy  (baby bear makes a rocket and goes up the chimney to the moon).

Leave out a large box, a pair of wellies and a colander but say nothing. Read the story with your child and see what happens. Lots of children will make the connection and start role playing - others may need you to initiate it. You can look at the book and gather or make other props if you have them such as a toy owl. Don't forget a picnic to eat when you're on the moon. Have fun! 

Jane Reay 



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