What Does Play Teach our Kids? Play is the underpinning for all learning for children and giving your child the time, and a few basic toys that are not driven by TV programs or movies, such as blocks, stuffed animals and similar can provide them with a variety of valuable learning opportunities.
What Does Play Teach our Kids?
Play is how children begin to understand and process their world. Kid’s play unlocks their creativity and imagination, and develops reading, thinking, and problem-solving skills, as well as further, develops motor skills. Play provides the foundation for all learning.
As a parent you may be asking why is play so important and what do toddlers and preschoolers learn when they play? Here are a few of these simple ideas for you to try with items you have around your house and learn about the educational benefit that each can provide for your child.
When playing with other children or adults, vocabulary and language skills is fostered. Your child will listen and learn language skills they hear without even realizing it. Kids learn to use language to communicate meaning as well as picking up new words and understanding the grammatical structure and proper pronunciation of the English language.
Through play with other children or adults, vocabulary and language skills are fostered.
Playing with cars, trucks, and trains, as well as stuffed animals and family pets, provides new vocabulary words as children learn the names of each, what they do, what they eat or where you can find them within the house and out of the house. When you take them with you to the grocery store and take the time to point out items it helps to educate them.
Playing with a dollhouse or dolls or stuffed animals allows your kids to re-enact what happens in their daily lives, using the words and phrases they hear. You are likely to hear your own words come out of their mouth as they recreate events that have happened, perhaps with an outcome more suited to their liking. Play allows kids to express their emotions, work through turmoil and more. Allow their imaginations to run; this will only increase their creativity, which leads to problem-solving and other critical skills.
Imagination and Creativity
In our fast paced and high tech society, children have fewer and fewer opportunities to use and develop their creativity. More and more of their time is programmed on a daily basis. Kids who are not given frequent opportunities to play may have a difficult time entertaining themselves, as they do not know what to do without someone telling them what to do and when to do it. By providing opportunities for open-ended free active play, your kids will automatically get their creative juices flowing, and the possibilities are endless.
In our fast paced and high tech society, children have fewer and fewer opportunities to use and develop their creativity
Imaginative Play can be accomplished without much expense and relatively quickly by providing a few props such as dishes and play food, empty food boxes and a toy cash register or stuffed animals and a doctor’s kit, and your child will be transported into a different world. Watch and be amazed at what they will come up with as they play.
Supply your kids with a variety of craft supplies such as markers and crayons, scraps of fabric or paper, empty boxes or containers, glue sticks, buttons, and stickers. Allow them to create anything they like and watch their inner artist materialize. What they create will amaze you.
Problem Solving and Math Skills
Kids can solve difficult problems that arise as they play and learn a few mathematical concepts through play. Blocks and puzzles are excellent basic toys to offer your children. They provide opportunities to foster this important math and problem-solving skills.
Playing with blocks provides for many problem-solving situations. How can many blocks can they stack and make them balance, how tall and how wide can they make a tower? Can they take blocks and build a fort for their trucks or a castle for their dolls? Kids learn some basic math concepts with the various shapes and sizes of the blocks and how to use them to create different things.
When trying to make puzzle pieces fit, kids gain important math and problem-solving experience and skills. Learning about sizes – is the part too big or too small to fit and shapes (does the form of the piece look the same as the hole?) You can encourage this learning by engaging in conversations as your child plays. Your child will also gain a valuable sense of accomplishment as her practice leads to a completed puzzle in the end.
Development of Gross and Fine Motor Skills through Play
Gross motor skills are the large muscles of the legs and arms while fine motor development is the muscles of the hands that will be used for writing. Play can provide many opportunities to work on strengthening these muscles without your kids even being aware of it!
Giving kids beads, plastic tipped laces, colored pipe cleaners, crayons and coloring books or just plain paper and similarly provides a fun way to work on fine muscle control. Your child can create a beautiful necklace while strengthening the fine motor muscles, bend pipe cleaners into toys. Lacing shoes or putting new shoelaces into their own shoes all build hand strength. Coloring builds finger and hand strength and teaches them to be creative; eventually staying in the lines when coloring pictures teach hand excellent muscle control.
Kicking balls and playing games like tag, pickle in the middle and similar help your child become more coordinated. Get outside and kick a ball around, create a goal area to make it a game. Anytime you see a narrow brick wall or wooden plank, give your child some assisted practice at balancing as they walk the plank!
Play teaches kids about cooperation and collaboration
Play also teaches kids about cooperation and collaboration. As they work with other children to accomplish a goal or complete a task, they learn to understand that others may have their own ideas. They also learn to share their thoughts with others.
Gather up the toys you have around the house and make it a point to provide plenty of time for play. Playing with your kids is the way to provide many amazing childhood memories and gain some significant educational benefits as well.
Now go play!