Creating Invitations or Provocations for Play

Creating Invitations


Early Learning


To invite active exploration and wonder around curricular areas.


  • A child can be invited into a particular unit of study without us telling them what to do, by simply allowing them to explore their surroundings.
  • The invitation or provocation could take many forms such as; a story, tables set up to display artifacts or elements of nature with the use of mirrors, pictures or even a built block structure – The opportunities are limitless.
  • Talk with children to examine their thoughts, opinions and feelings towards the “invitation”.
  • Your provocations will depend on what unit or aspect of curriculum you are trying to examine.
  • Provocations will be noticed in a classroom that is well thought out and has a minimal amount of clutter.
  • Use a solid piece of paper, fabric, etc. to frame the materials that you have set out in a pleasing/interesting way.
  • Use place mats made from natural materials can be used for children to build or represent their thoughts and ideas on.
  • Small mirrors can be used to give a different perspective and create an area for children to build and extend their ideas on.


Classroom books, writing/drawing materials, loose parts, etc. related to the curricular topic you wish to have children explore.


Invitations can begin with just a few simple materials and as the teacher observes the children’s interests, interactions and questions about the materials, more items can be added on over time.


Creating Invitations for Learning by Deb Curtis – Child Care Information Exchange, May/June, 2004, pp 38- 40.