Props and Toys: Learning and Behaviour Management and Positive Reinforcement

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By Karen Hart

The activities in this article aid in facilitating social interaction and good behaviour skills in the early years.

Girl with robot

Children in early years and throughout Key Stage 1 have a great deal of learning to do when it comes to social skills – empathy, taking turns, sharing, building friendships, pitching in… there’s a lot to learn, and these skills are particularly difficult as they often require putting in a bit of extra work on the child’s part. Although some problem behaviours will always demand immediate attention – a child throwing toys or hurting another child for example, mostly children will self-correct as soon as they see other children being praised for helping and being thoughtful towards others, and with this in mind, the following activities are aimed at reinforcing and rewarding the good, and gently pointing out the bad behaviours that are commonplace in early years.

The following activities are all tried and tested and have proved helpful in facilitating social interaction and good behaviour skills. They’re also lots of fun!

  1. Robots
  2. Happy/Sad Faces
  3. Take Home Teddies
  4. Mouse Pencil Collecting Pot
  5. ‘Sid the Snake’ Sock-puppet
  6. Card Matching Game

Use the activities here to cover the following EYFS criteria:

Personal, social and emotional development: Managing feelings and behaviour

Children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow the rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.

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