Did you know that the United Nations names child play as a universal right for every child?
Yes, the normal peekaboo, red rover, and hide and seek are vital for your children's balanced physical and emotional development.
Learning through play refers to playful activities like singing and dancing that children engage in, allowing their physical, mental, social, communication, and language skills to develop and mature.
Learning through play is an essential concept in early childhood development and forms the foundation of your child’s future social, academic, and career success.
Research shows that games improve children's brain function and promote executive skill development.
Play deprivation causes kids to develop antisocial behaviors, toxic stress, low self-esteem, isolation, and ambition.
Lack of play in young kids has been associated with decreased brain and muscle fiber development, increased violent crimes, poor problem solving, social and communication skills.
Parents should endeavor to provide a safe, peaceful, and conducive free playing atmosphere for their kids.
Outdoor, unstructured free play coupled with structured, organized play provide kids with the best mix of optimum physical, cognitive and social skills development.
Here are a few ways In which children learn through play.
Cognitive play improves a child’s science skills
Kids love to explore everything around them. Whether it’s a living or non-living thing, trust a kid to turn, open, shake and cuddle it.
As kids naturally sort, weigh, measure, cut, and manipulate objects, their basic science and math skills improve.
The Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget called this ability by kids to discover science through play as constructive cognition.
Games like blocks, jigsaws, and marbles lay the foundation for spatial thinking, logical reasoning, ordering, math, and physics.
Research showed that preschoolers with high Lego block-making abilities had better math scores in high school than kids without similar lego exposure.
A child’s natural curiosity paired with positive games form the foundation for problem-solving skills they’ll need later in life.
Social play teaches self-control and social skills
Games like hide and seek instill self-control in kids. Impulsive kids have to control themselves to achieve the game’s goal.
Social play, like team sports, teaches children social skills like negotiation, sharing, compromise, empathy, and conflict resolution. These social skills are crucial in developing an all-round individual who will be an asset to society.
Kids who regularly interact with their peers in play are generally better behaved, more kind, courteous and better diplomats.
Physical play improves children’s physical and mental health
It’s a fact that a healthy body is a healthy mind, especially in children.
Physical activities like running, see-sawing, balancing books, and water play improve children’s fine motor skills, eye-to-hand coordination, critical thinking, and decision making.
Many successful athletes who are superstars in their professions started as kids. This is a testament to the fact that sports, when done right, impart critical life skills that help kids be successful members of society.
Sports help children develop healthy bodies, quick wits, make new friends, respect authority, learn to be team members, and the importance of fair play.
Outdoor play helps kids appreciate nature
Building an iceman, a sandcastle, collecting seashells on the beach, or taking a walk in the park improves children’s appreciation of nature.
Today's frantic, structured world flooded with technology leaves many kids bruised and traumatized with esteem issues.
Research shows that kids who spend less time in nature develop nature deficit disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), vitamin deficiency, obesity, increased myopia, reduced sensory perception, physical and mental illnesses.
A dose of open play in nature will do wonders for such kids.
Camping, running and constructing things using natural resources boost children's self-esteem, confidence, resilience, and creativity.
Learning through outdoor play is an experience all children need to develop strong cognitive, physical, and social skills.
Play singing develops vocabulary and literacy skills
Infants communicate through a series of gurgles, grunts, and screeches; that’s their first language.
And as they grow older, singing becomes the easiest and most effective medium of learning language and vocabulary.
Nursery rhymes and play songs form a strong foundation for speech development through auditory discrimination, phonological awareness, vocabulary development, and auditory memory.
Learning through play is a fundamental component in the proper growth of children.
The importance of learning through play
Here are a few reasons why learning through play is vital to kids.
Enhance physical and mental development
Learning through play helps kids grow their cognitive and physical muscles.
Running, singing, board games, and team activities develop children’s bodies and minds, adequately preparing them for the world.
Develop a portfolio of skills
Learning through play equips kids with a wide range of skills necessary to be functional and productive members of society.
Problem-solving, negotiation, socializing, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking are skills children learn through play.
These skills help mold children to be better, all-rounded individuals.
Identify talents and strengths
Every child on earth has a hidden superpower. Unfortunately, the modern school system emphasizes rote learning and buries natural talent and strength.
Learning through play exposes kid’s natural abilities and talents which can be enhanced and developed.
Enforce positive character development
Learning through play enforces positive character development in kids.
Virtues of sharing, empathy, and conflict resolution are developed and honed in kid games. These positive character traits go a long way in developing positive and socially acceptable character traits in kids.
Instill responsibility in kids
Learning through play imparts a measure of responsibility in children.
As they play, young kids learn that actions have consequences and that positive outcomes start with them being responsible for their actions.
Responsibility and its place in the children’s lives create more holistically complete individuals.
What are the benefits of learning through play for kids?
Play develops social skills
Learning through play allows kids to grow and improve their social skills.
Social etiquette such as sharing and being polite exists in playgroups, and kids learn the importance of such skills early on.
Play develops speech
Singing and dancing develop a kid's speech, vocabulary, and language skills.
Singing helps kids improve their diction, pronunciation, and language memory.
Play develops cognitive, critical thinking, and motor skills
Board games and tasks that require mental input develop a child’s brain.
Running, rope skipping, and sliding further improve children’s motor skills.
Team activities help kids hone their critical thinking and decision-making abilities.
Play improves confidence
Kids step out of their comfort zones during play. Games allow children to explore, learn, make mistakes and grow.
Playing builds a child’s confidence.
Play fosters imagination and creativity.
Play allows kids to express themselves freely without judgment and inhibitions, which is essential in their emotional health.
Creative play and thinking build confidence, explore talents and nurture kids.
Learning through play helps kids develop character, confidence, talents, leadership, and other skills not taught in regular school.
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