It’s time to share our absolute favourite play-based learning scenarios featured in the hit kids’ TV show, Bluey!
If you’ve ever watched an episode of Bluey, you’ll know what an exciting, creative, and energetic life the Heeler family lead in suburban Brisbane. Early childhood teachers, in particular, will appreciate the organic and child-directed play scenarios which unfold beautifully in each episode.
For those who haven’t, the show centres around a family of cattle dogs, daughters Bluey (6) and Bingo (4), and their parents, Bandit and Chilli (dad and mum, to most!). Bluey has been highly acclaimed, having won both a Logie and an Emmy award since its pilot aired in 2018.
Bluey Gets Play-Based Learning So Right
For teachers and parents, Bluey has become a fresh source of inspiration, illustrating the way children’s play unfolds, develops and ultimately, teaches.
We know how vital play-based learning is in the early childhood development, and Bluey demonstrates the simplicity and authenticity found in open-ended, organic play opportunities found in the everyday.
“Play provides opportunities for children to learn as they discover, create, improvise and imagine. When children play with other children they create social groups, test out ideas, challenge each other’s thinking and build new understandings. Play provides a supportive environment where children can ask questions, solve problems and engage in critical thinking.”
As an early years teacher, watching Bluey and her peers play reminds me of observing young students play in my classroom; the medical centre, the shop, the home are all established favourites in a play-based learning space.
Socio dramatic play is the pinnacle of play for four to six-year olds and it drives the heart of the show. This type of play sees kids working at their highest level of imagination, cooperation and group interaction.
So here are our ten favourite socio-dramatic play-based learning scenarios from Bluey:
In episode 28, Bluey and Bingo pretend to be grannies called Rita and Janet. They disagree over whether grannies do the Floss dance.
“You can only do what grannies do, and grannies don’t floss!” – Bluey
In order to resolve the issue, the puppies video call their Nana and teach her how to floss.
“Hooray!” – Neighbourhood Pups
In episode 23, “Shops”, MacKenzie, Bluey’s neighbourhood friend, becomes upset when Bluey makes up too many rules for their checkout game. The friends work out a way to simplify the rules so that everyone can understand and get on with the fun!
In “Pirates” (episode 27), Bluey, Bingo, and their friend Missy imagine that the hammock swing at their local park is a pirate ship. Missy is afraid of the journey on the high seas, until Bandit, Bluey’s dad, jumps into the action and facilitates a safe and joyful experience for all of the pups. This episode beautifully illustrates the role of the adult in supporting children’s play.
“Stop! Butler, the royal bottom is itchy. I demand you scratch it!” – Bingo
Episode 75, “Queens” is an excellent example of how play helps children develop social skills such as turn-taking. Bingo decides to dress up as a queen, and then allows Bluey to take her place as the queen in order for the game to continue harmoniously. Ultimately, both sisters decide they prefer to play the butler, so they dress Chilli up as the queen.
(5) The Show
“I have a little cry, then I pick myself up, dust myself off and keep going!” – Chilli
Play also helps young children develop personal skills, like resilience. In episode 71, “The Show”, Bingo drops a plate of Mother’s Day Breakfast and is upset for ‘ruining’ Chilli’s day. So Chilli models how she works through things when she makes a mistake. This sort of self-talk modelling is super helpful and an example of how adults can enrich children’s play, with small but meaningful interactions. Chilli encourages her daughters to put on a Mother’s Day performance.
(6) Fancy Restaurant
“I’ll just have the baked beans, then.” – Chilli
When the pups find their parents enjoying a quiet moment of peace (Chilli reading and Bandit chopping his toenails onto the floor with a pair of scissors!!!), they demand to see them smoochy-kiss. But Chilli’s not feeling the very romance, so the girls set up a fancy restaurant (episode 69).
(7) Dad Baby
“Too easy, man. Don’t know what all the fuss is about!” – Bandit
Sometimes the discovery of a single item can lead to a whole dramatic play experience, episode 65, “Dad Baby”, starts with Bingo finding her old baby carrier. She implores her dad Bandit to play a game called Dad Baby, in which he’s pregnant. Hilarity ensues, and Chilli (along with all the mums watching) nods in solidarity as Bandit endures the joys of pregnancy… and then childbirth!
(8) Mum School
“They’re my children. I gave birth to them all!” – Bluey
Bluey avoids bath time by convincing her mum to play a game called “Mum School” in episode 66. Bluey has herself a litter of children (which are actually balloons) and wants to train to become their mum.
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All giphs via GIPHY