The word heuristic derives from the Greek word eurisko meaning ‘I discover’. It is used to describe an intuitive way of meeting challenges and solving problems – exactly what young children do when they are engaged in Heuristic Play. Toddlers are fascinated by finding out not just what things are but also what they will do. Their natural inclination is to pick things up and explore what they feel like using their fingers, hands, feet or other parts of their body. They are interested in the texture, shape, colour, weight, flexibility and malleability of different objects. They wave things around to see how they move, drop them to see what they sound like and bang them on a hard surface to see if they change shape or even break. Using their manipulative skills they push and poke, squeeze and squash, pull and twist the different objects to see what they can do with them. They may be interested in finding out which parts of an object move and which stay still, whether objects will roll or bounce, whether things will stack on top of one another, which things will fit inside other things and how objects can be moved from place to place.

Heuristic Play is a wonderful opportunity to capitalise on toddlers’ curiosity about the objects that make up the world around them. The resources which make up a Heuristic Play collection will not be the kinds of objects traditionally thought of as toys for young children but they provide equally valuable opportunities for extending children’s learning. There is no right and wrong way to play with Heuristic Play resources so everyone’s ideas are equally valid and worthwhile. The open ended nature of the resources means that all toddlers can explore and investigate in their own way, applying their own creative ideas and building on their own experiences. Different children will be interested in doing different things with the resources so the key to creating a good Heuristic Play collection is to include as wide a variety of resources as possible. To enable children to get the most out of a Heuristic Play session it is important that they can explore their ideas fully without being interrupted by other children wanting to share the same resources. Children of this age are not old enough to understand the concept of sharing or ‘taking turns’ so ample quantities of a rich variety of resources should be provided to minimise the potential for conflict. 

TickiT Heuristic Play Starter Set (73935)

This set comprises a range of wooden objects to use as part of your collection of heuristic play resources. All the items are made from sustainably cultivated European beech trees. The timber carries both PEFC and FSC environmental certification. These natural wood products are attractive to look at, warm to the touch and very satisfying to handle and manipulate. The resources have been chosen to be large enough for young children to handle safely without them presenting a choking hazard. The drawstring bags provide a useful way to organise your Heuristic Play collection and to store the sets of resources when not in use.

The set includes:
• 10 x rings 70mm diameter • 10 x rings 48mm diameter
• 10 x egg cups 63mm high • 10 x large spools
• 6 x 40mm cubes • 3 x bowls 92mm diameter
• 3 x bowls 70mm diameter • 1 x ring holder
• 10 x balls 50mm diameter
• 5 x drawstring bags 380 x 420mm