How can you embed digital play in early learning curriculums?


This year you might find yourself in a position where you are coaching early learning educators on their journey to use iPad in a play based curriculum. Or you may be an early childhood educator wanting to start using digital tools in your learning environment.

Whichever group you fall into, this discussion and companion book is here to guide your thinking! 

Get Started!

  1. Download Digital Play - A free book and professional learning experience by Marc Faulder and Kristi Meeuwse.
    Cover of Digital Play book showing young children sharing Toca Boca Store app.
    Digital Play - available for free on Apple Books.
  2. Follow Marc Faulder and Kristi Meeuwse on Twitter.

Discussion Point 1: Defining 'Play'


A screenshot of page 9 of Digital Play - 'what does play mean to you'? Use this page to jot down and share your ideas.
Screenshot this page in Digital Play, mark it up and share on Twitter.

Before introducing anything new to teaching and learning it's important to share an understanding of where you and your team are right now. Let's start with creating a shared understanding of what you mean by 'play' and what it looks like in your setting.

Read pages 4- 8 of Digital Play and reflect on your own reading, research and experience by taking a screen shot of page 9. Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments below.

Discussion Point 2 - Benefits of Digital Play


An iPad screen showing page 18 of Digital Play with an Apple Pencil to the right side.
Screenshot page 18 and mark it up with your thoughts and feelings about the digital play you've experienced. Share this with us on Twitter.

This section of Digital Play unpacks 5 types of digital play. It covers topics like screen time, exploration, different media types, digital assistants and hybrid play. We invite you take time to use all of the technology resources your school or setting currently owns, this can include iPad too. Spend time playing with these tools and reflect on the features of play you are experiencing whilst using technology playfully.

Read pages 10 - 17 of Digital Play then screenshot page 18 to capture your thoughts and feelings. Tweet this to us or share your notes in the comments here.

Discussion Point 3 - Learning and Digital Play


A teacher holding an Apple Pencil to make notes on their screenshot of page 75 of the Digital Play book.
Screenshot page 75 of Digital Play and mark it up with your planning ideas. Share it with us on Twitter.

This section of the book walks through you a wide variety of examples of digital play from our classrooms. We share activity ideas for Literacy, Mathematics, Art, Science, Social Learning and Communication. These activities come with our own reflections on how this learning relates to play theory too.

Read pages 19 - 75 of Digital Play and take time trying out an activity that excites you. Take a screenshot of page 75 to capture your next steps and future plans. Tweet it to us or comment below to share what you will try.

Using Digital Play for Professional Learning

Our book can be used in two ways:

  1. If you are a teacher looking to improve or introduce technology in your early learning setting then you can take yourself through the pages of this book to learn and reflect. Join the discussions on Twitter by sharing your notes or connect in the comments on this post.
  2. If you are a leader of teacher development and supporting early childhood educators to take new steps in using technology then you can use this book as slides for PD sessions. Share the book with your teachers too and let them reflect on the note pages and join in these discussions on Twitter or here in this post.

Please also rate and review Digital Play on Apple Books! 

An iPad showing page 79 of Digital Play
Please share your rating and review of this book on Apple Books.

Posted on September 14, 2022 in response to Marc

This is super timely! We are trying to set a standard of all iPad in K-2 across the 45 schools I work with. I will absolutely be sharing this book.


Posted on September 21, 2022 in response to Marc

Love it! I am going through it now and can't wait to share!

Posted on September 25, 2022 in response to Marc

Thanks for sharing this it will be supportive and informative. Question - In a Nursery and reception setting when do you feel that iPads (if ever) should be introduced into Nursery?

The children are of course curious about tech in the classroom in Nursery however, I feel reception maybe term 2 is the time to start embedding?

Posted on October 13, 2022 in response to marklar

Hi Mark, thank you for your comments. I don't think there is a straight forward answer to this question as the most appropriate plan for your setting should be made with all stakeholder's opinions in mind. I'd recommend discussing what's possible with teachers, leaders and parents. From my own experience though, I introduce iPad from the start of the Reception year. There isn't a nursery setting at my school, but I have worked with nursery and pre-school settings who are doing wonderful things with photography and film. Try searching on my website for 'nursery' to see examples:

Question: How can you embed digital play in early learning curriculums?

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