8 Ways to Scaffold your Child’s Learning Through Play

Scaffolding is a framework to describe adult’s supportive role in a child’s learning. Scaffolding enables a child to undertake activities that he/she would not usually be able to without the help of others. It allows the child to move his/her current level of understanding to a more advanced one.

Scaffolding with young children during play, involves three main ingredients; modeling the skill, giving clues and asking open ended questions while the child is trying out a new skill, and then as the child approaches mastery, withdrawing the support.

Here are 8 ways you can help scaffold your child’s learning:

  1. Watch and listen

Sit back and observe your child while he/she engages in the activity. Ascertain his/her current level of understanding then look out for cues to intervene to add new layers of learning to his/her existing or prior knowledge.

Suggested question: What are you thinking?

  1. Go into discovery mode

Be a co-player by encouraging your child to explore further. Bring him/her from a world that he/she knows to a new world of possibilities.

Suggested question: What else is possible?

  1. Expand on the theme

Brainstorm together with your child about the theme to help him/her expand on what he/she is learning. Toss in your ideas, too!

Suggested question: What do you need in order to learn more about _____?

  1. Make learning explicit

Directly communicate what is taking place by pointing out the learning that you see.

Suggested question: When you do _________, what did you observe? That means you are learning about _________.

  1. Build upon prior knowledge

When your child is engaged in an activity, ask questions to find out what prior knowledge he/she relates to, then add in additional elements that are not in his/her regular experience.

Suggested question: What does that remind you of?

  1. Extend the play

Introduce a prop or a demonstration to extend the play. The purpose of the prop is to open the conversation up for your child to make interpretations and connections.

Suggested question: What happens when we add or do this __________?

  1. Consolidate learning

At the end of the activity, summarise and reiterate the learning behind the play.

Suggested question: What is different in your thinking now? What do you now know about _____?

  1.   Revisit learning

Revisit the learning process by encouraging your child to share what he/she has learnt through drawing, journaling, acting it out, to make the learning visible.

Ask: How will you share what you have learnt?


You may find that some activities in the Squizzel Box are pitched at a higher level than what your child can handle on his/her own. These activities are specially designed to be slightly more difficult so that with your scaffolding, you can take your child to higher levels of learning. It is a prime opportunity to enter the play as a co-creator and help provoke a framework for your child to go from “what he/she knows” to “what else he/she could know”!  

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