Play comes naturally to children. In fact, play is how children best learn. Play can be simple or complex. It can come with rules or without. It can be done inside or outdoors. It can help relieve emotions, anxiety and stress as well as provide a way for kids to explore concepts and ideas not available to them in a classroom setting.
Think you know what it means to play? Let’s take a closer look.
Which of the following activities count as playing and which are learning?
• Climbing a tree
• Dress up
• Drawing a pirate map
• Solving a brain teasing riddle
If you suspected this was a trick question, you were right. All of the above activities were acts of play and also acts of learning.
Play is learning.
What do kids learn when they play? When a child climbs a tree she learns among other things, physical, motor and problem solving skills. When a child plays tag he learns social, language and literacy skills.
Every time children build with blocks, pretend to run a restaurant or grocery store, play dinosaurs, or invent a new game, they are learning. They are expanding their cognitive, physical, emotional, social, literacy and vocabulary skills during play.
Even adults play. Candy Crush, anyone? Play is ingrained in our brains.
Make Time for Playtime
Why is playtime so important? Children who enjoy recess during their school day remember more, do better on tests and use better behaviors in the classroom.
Play is how they learn, how they express themselves, how they explore, and how they manage their emotions.
So give your child room to play. Let them explore and pretend. Restock that dress up box and place it in a location that is easily accessible. Leave out extra blankets for fort-building.
Join in the adventure. Do you remember how to tap into your inner child? Why not head outdoors for some fun? Create an adventure in sidewalk chalk. Draw faces on socks and put on a play. The possibilities are endless.