“Open-ended” play materials are a regular part of play for the children at Early Birds Istanbul.

Huge pipes, wooden slats and ladders - items without a specific purpose - are an integral component of our playground. Even when more familiar objects such as a slide or swings are nearby, children of all ages are magically drawn to these more unusual items. They use them to build streets, tunnels, bridges and slides, stretching their boundless creativity to new heights. They initiate their own creative role play, learn to willingly take risks, and develop an “I can do it!” mindset.

Math and science concepts are likewise developed while children play with these materials. While rolling around inside a huge pipe, for example, children learn the concept of a cylinder. Is there a better way for a child to tangibly understand 3D shapes?

By Regina Kruse-Özçelik