The Playground of Ideas framework

The Playground of Ideas is now available as a teaching resource!

Everything you need to teach 10 weeks of Playground of Ideas sessions: ideas for thinking games, lesson plans and photocopiable resources, all in one book. 

Published by Cambridge Thinking Press and available to buy from Amazon

The Playground of Ideas is a complete set of resources for teachers, and has been designed for children aged 5-7 to develop their thinking and discussion skills.

There are five pieces of play equipment which are introduced one week at a time, and each piece corresponds to the development of  a different skill:

Swing: Giving opinions

Slide: Being brave with your ideas

Climbing Frame: Building on each other’s ideas

Seesaw: Giving reasons and deciding which are the best reasons

Crowsnest: Listening and noticing what others are saying

The children go on a piece of equipment and practice the skill that it encourages, using philosophical questions to allow them to have some really interesting discussions. Here are some of the questions we've used: 

  • How is real life different to a dream?
  • Could we live in a world without numbers? (great for mastery in maths)
  • Is it better to make 1 person very happy or 10 people a little bit happy?
  • Are robots the same as humans? (great for discussing the science of living things)
  • Are we responsible for everything we do?
  • We have also worked with teachers on specific discussion questions based on books that their classes have been reading, for example:
    • Jack and the Beanstalk
    • The Three Little Pigs
    • Nobot the Robot

Read on below for more description of some of the Playground of Ideas equipment...

        The Swing 

        What do I think?    What do you think?

Sharing opinions: children decide what they think about a question and are either on one side of the swing or the other. If they haven’t made up their mind they are in the middle on the swing.                

The Swing gets children used to sharing their thoughts when there isn't an easy right or wrong answer. 

It also lets them know that it's ok to change your mind once they've thought about something a bit more. 

 The Climbing Frame        

Can I climb higher by adding to someone else’s idea?

The climbing frame is to help children to listen to each other and add more information to ideas. It uses sentence starters to help children to do this:

Following on from what Jack says, I think…

I agree with Emily because…

I disagree with Patricia because…

Each piece of equipment helps children to master a particular discussion skill. The Playground of Ideas teaching resource has full session plans that allows teachers to lead sessions for each piece of equipment, as well as lots more information on how children can think and talk together