Playing is one of the best ways to lay down a good foundation for learning. Without having the opportunity to play regularly and freely children will not be able to grasp a thorough understanding of their environment or themselves. During play, whether structured or free, there is ample opportunity to learn how, to solve problems, enhance social and communication skills as well as a proficiency in leadership and creativity.
As parents and carers of young children it is vital that we lead by example. We are in the position to inspire, educate, communicate and nurture our children to give them the greatest opportunity to reach their full potential. This can be done through play.
In this particular post I’m talking about young children, pre-schoolers. When talking about beneficial play with these little people it isn’t a case of giving them a toy or watching over them. It is becoming involved with the play at the child’s level and having fun.
Play should be suitable for the level of the child – not the level you think or hope they should be achieving. All this will do is trigger anxiety and frustration is all involved. Join in at the child’s level. If they want to bash saucepan lids with a wooden spoon, then join in. When this is no longer enjoyable for the child or they need new beaters which make a different sound, you know that they have moved up to another learning level.
Problem solving is a critical skill for children to learn. We deal with problems all through our lives whether it be deciding on which colour shoes to buy, finding a route home or working out the finances. Children need to learn how to solve increasingly difficult and multi step problems. Play gives an excellent opportunity for learning about solutions.
Watch a child rolling a ball down a slope. The learning in this simple activity is immense as well as fun. Eventually they learn that a ball always rolls down. Gravity is a wonderful thing!
There are no right or wrong ways to play, unless it is dangerous or socially unacceptable of course. Just because you know that the toy cars are meant for rolling along the floor, if a child wants to build a tower with them, that’s fine. Let children explore and decide how best to use a toy.
Children need play.
Thank you for reading. If you have any thoughts on children’s play or any questions, please use the little box below. I promise to reply a.s.a.p.