Young children’s mathematical problem solving and thinking in a playworld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In the literature in recent years, a number of developmental studies have demonstrated the importance of children entering the school environment with a solid foundation of mathematical content knowledge and argued that problem solving, as an important mathematical process, should be acknowledged in early childhood mathematical education. However, there is less research on how children process mathematics information through problem solving in play-based early childhood education settings. This paper draws upon a cultural-historical concept of play, motives and pedagogical process of a playworld approach to investigate how Mathematical Playworld creates the motivating conditions for young children to achieve a meaningful learning experience about repeating patterns? We argue that Mathematical Playworld, as a new pedagogical approach within the worlds of imaginary situations, should be promoted, as it builds the motivating conditions that support meaningful learning of mathematical concepts in the double sense created in children. This study also contributes to understanding young children’s mathematical problem-solving processes in the collective imaginary situation, considering how learning processes become personally meaningful for children and capturing teachers’ role in play for supporting children’s mathematisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-44
Number of pages22
JournalMathematics Education Research Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Imagination
  • Mathematical playworld
  • Meaningful learning
  • Motives
  • Repeating pattern

Cite this