What Are Provocations? Resources for Block Play Provocations

What is a Provocation? journeyintoearlychildhood.com

Provocations are materials or the way we present materials to create a context where the child can explore. They are an extension or a challenge to our children’s current thinking and theories. 

Teachers provide materials, media and general direction as needed but the children take the ideas where they want.


  • The teachers observe what happens when the children come in contact with the intentionally chosen materials. 
  • The teacher then provides additional materials and/or poses open-ended questions to expand students’ ideas and theories, that allow students to continue to test their theories for accuracy and to reflect upon their learning.

The image of the child is one of competency. We honor the children’s abilities to explore, create and make meanings. Through provocations, we allow children to develop their theories, test their theories, and develop more and deeper understandings as we continue to offer additional materials and open-ended questions. The students are the ones shouldering the heavy work and thinking- they are the ones doing the learning.

Construction Play Center, Creation Station, and Discovery Center are all ideal places to add in provocations to extend the learning and encourage students’ thoughts, ideas, and play on a specific topic or objective.




Author: DHonegger

Debra S. Honegger has worked in multiple areas of education- both general education and special education- as teacher, consultant, administrator and instructional coach- with ages from birth through adult. However, no matter where she is or what her title, she holds a firm belief in meeting the needs of each individual child while coming together as a community of learners.

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