Play Miniland is a new learning method which combines real and digital play. It is based on Game-Based Learning (GBL), a model of learning that aims to establish the use of play activities in school and home environments, keeping in mind the importance of Active Play.
This new method is based around two models of learning:
Active Play learning: this type of learning is carried out through play with real toys, as a way of building knowledge by means of handling materials and toys.
Game-Based Learning: this type of learning is becoming more popular in academic environments, as it involves the use of digital games or video-games to support teaching and learning in the classroom.
With the new Play Miniland Method, Miniland Educational has come up with active learning based on play with real toys, toys that can be touched, shared and used to learn the concepts and ideas worked on during class, through the strong motivator of play. The motivating effect is twofold: at the end of each session, a digital game is introduced as a way of strengthening the new concepts learned.
It is a fun “real-digital” learning method, which follows a workbook with educational resources to be used in school and by the teacher. With this new method, Miniland Educational aims to provide ease, maximise resources and broaden the activity bank for Early Years and Primary teachers.
At home, parents will be able to deepen the knowledge acquired by their children in school, by using this new learning method. By combining real play with Miniland Educational toys and Play Miniland digital play, children will reinforce what they have learned at school, in a playful and entertaining way.
Play Miniland’s Educational Resources Workbook is a dossier made up of 36 teaching/ learning guides that improve the use of over 200 educational toys.
This workbook is an aid for teachers and families so as to cover different content set in the school syllabus, through play. This content includes:
All educational resources can be accessed through the playminiland.com website:
The lesson plans present sessions structured in three phases:
1st Introduction to the topic by the teacher, who will describe the concepts they will work through.
2nd Playing activity with Miniland Educational toys. This will include an activity card to facilitate the playing activity with toys.
3rd Digital play on the computer, Smart boards, classroom screens or tablets, as a reinforcement of what has been learned in class.
INTRODUCTION of teacher's lesson objectives with a description of the educational concepts to be developed using Lesson Plans
Initiate GAME ACTIVITY with the combination of Miniland Educational toys and the printable activity sheets to maximize the play experience with the toys.
DIGITAL GAMES on a computers, interactive white boards, classroom boards or tablets, to reinforce what has been learned
Play Miniland is based on Active Learning through play with toys, as a method to build knowledge by using different resources.
However, one must always bear in mind that knowledge does not arise from objects, nor from the child independently, but from the interaction between the child and the objects (Jean Piaget, Swiss epistemologist and psychologist. Creator of genetic epistemology. Known for his contributions to the study of children and his constructivist theory of development).
This new initiative developed by Miniland Educational has broken down specialised toys into different types:
Sensory games that enable the stimulation of senses in early years.
Construction games, with which children can exercise their motor and manipulative skills, gradually controlling how to express their feelings and emotions (self-esteem).
Symbolic games that allow to recreate real everyday situations, in order to acquire understanding of our social environment
Games on rules, which help children accept and follow game rules.
The 34 digital games plus the 2 Sensory stimulation Apps have been designed to provide learning experiences that recognise positive achievement, without penalising mistakes. Trial-and-error learning is the key to reinforce knowledge. These games have been devised under the premise that making mistakes is good for memory, making mistakes while learning can benefit memory, as long as the answers are not merely random (Baycrest Foundation, Toronto, Canada). Furthermore, activities have been designed taking into consideration different paces of learning, so as to allow children to progress at their own pace. The games can be used without any time constraints. It is important to observe children’s individual learning needs, adjust the requirements, motivate them to achieve potential goals and make personal progress. The teacher’s role is to allow every child to discover and realise their potential. Miniland Educational toys are truly reflected in the design of Play Miniland digital games. The aim of these games is to use digital play, which present-day children are so attracted to, as a way of acknowledging real materials, so that children do not lose sight of the importance of real play. Consequently, playing with toys is a possibility in both formats (real/ digital), given that both are a source for learning and stimulation in child development.
However, several of our games include a digital chronometer. Thus, when considered appropriate by the teacher, he/she can use this variable in the playing activity, creating new challenges for improvement, based on the time required to complete the game.
The background audio in our 34 digital games is music based on 8 inventions by Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach originally composed these short polyphonic pieces as exercises to enhance his pupils’ musical education. Our objective is to get children to spontaneously become familiar with these short pieces of baroque classical music. However, the game can be played without sound, so as to avoid disturbing other classes.
For the implementation of this learning project, Miniland Educational has been supported by AIJU (Technological Institute for Children’s and Leisure Products). This independent organisation has over 25 years’ experience in European Research and Development Projects on the importance of play and toy in the psych pedagogical development of children. A team made up of teachers, psychologists, pedagogues, sociologists, computer scientists, designers and engineers, has developed the digital content and resources for Play Miniland. All of our games and toys have been welcomed by academic teams in early years and primary schools.
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