What is learning through play?
Play is vital for a child’s early development. Playing helps in the development of the brain hence ensuring maturity of their language and communication skills. You might think that simple games like shaking a rattle, singing a song, or peek a boo is a waste of time, but it’s more important than you think. They teach children about communication, develop motor skills, and help in problem-solving. Simple things like knocking and stacking blocks help children discover math and science concepts, including numbers, shapes, and balance. These games lay the foundations for formal education, and in most cases, learning starts at home with parents or caregivers playing with them.
Benefits of learning through play
Many parents want to see their children start early learning by enrolling them in a daycare with classes or enrolling them in a preschool by age two or three. As a parent, don’t be surprised if your child spends more time playing than learning. Early childhood educators know that play is one of the most beneficial ways children can spend time is via free or guided play. Here are some benefits why you should encourage learning through play.
- Develops social skills
When children are playing, they learn to work together as a team. A child may lead a play but must remember to include others. During playtime, children learn to negotiate, corporate, listen, share, and be assertive. This collaborative skill is vital in developing social skills and building friendships. Once children have established friendships at preschools or daycares, parents can encourage it by setting up play dates or playgroups. Through play, children learn to work through emotions even before they can speak. They express their feelings through physical play, art, singing, storytelling, and other activities. These social skills are an essential part of language development.
- Creates confidence in children
Another important outcome of a child’s learning through play is the development of confidence at a very tender age. With no confidence, the ability to try new things is compromised. Children gain confidence by learning that their needs are important to caregivers and parents. Toddlers use adults as security to explore and uncover things they can do by themselves. When children reach preschool age, they already know that they can trust parents in their lives and be confident to take charge. Learning through play in schools like GIIS Singapore develops high self-esteem in children fostering confidence and good communication skills.
- Inspires creativity
Creativity is when your child’s thinking and skill development are put together to make something different. Imaginative and pretending play is one of the foundations of a child’s world, and they show this skill at around age two. A child may use anything to spur his or her imagination; this includes everyday household items. They may use bottle tops as plates to serve food and assume several roles as they play. For instance, they can be teachers today, a driver tomorrow, and a mother the next day. This allows children to explore different reactions and scenarios.
- Fosters effective communication
When children play alone or with others, they develop important speech, language, and listening skills. When your child is playing alone, they will speak to themselves as they use their toys, such as a princess dressing up for a dance. When interacting with others, they tend to communicate the purpose and organize ideas. That’s why you’ll hear children trying to decide if to use the dragon as the prince rescues the princess or not. The early childhood educators use guided play as a model setting for language learning. Exposure to new vocabularies enriches their variety of words that they can incorporate into their language. Guided play fosters learning of words for preschoolers.
- Develops Critical thinking and motor skills
Critical thinking is the capability to analyze information to make sense. It involves the front part of the brain that manages memory, attention, control, and flexibility. When children point out they always take snacks before dinner, they are using their critical thinking. Children learn numbers and other skills through playing with toys and books and show their thinking as they talk about it. These are examples of the importance of learning through play, whether free or guided play. Physical play develops motor skills as it helps your child work through crankiness or stress. First, they develop motor skills like running, pedaling and throwing, and later fine skills such as coloring, writing, and buttoning.
Without a doubt, the play has many benefits for children during early year development. By learning these important skills, they learn how to live in and interact in the world around them. For instance, children mimic adult roles and conquer their fears through play. Investing and giving your child attention will help them grow physically and emotionally. So, when your child plays, support, and guide so they can experience the many benefits play offers.