In the past, play was seen as simple entertainment. Now, as more and more studies are being carried out, results have proven that play is way more about education. Play-based learning is not just an effective tool to help kids learn new things, it’s actually essential for a child’s holistic development. Let’s explore play-based learning, understand all the benefits and find out what role we can play in helping our children learn while they play. We’ve also included some amazing online resources to help too. We’ll start by defining exactly what play-based learning is.
What is play-based learning?
Play-based learning refers to a holistic approach to a child’s learning and development. Simply put – they learn while they play! Educating children through games engages them in a physical and mentally stimulating way. It also inspires our little one’s sense of curiosity and teaches them essential skills through the trial and error of the games they’re engaging with.
By encouraging our little ones to learn through play, they’re more likely to explore, take calculated risks and use their imagination as they engage with different games. Play-based learning is a large component of a child’s brain development, and plays a significant role in developing and strengthening their neural pathways. All of which becomes a solid foundation for the future of our children’s academic journey.
Benefits of Learning through play
Playing encourages children to learn valuable skills that are important for their social, physical and cognitive growth. Through engaging with other kids, as well as new and interesting objects, children develop the courage to try new things, take risks and understand the world around them.
Play-based learning games help kids discover their own interests, abilities and limitations, use their imagination, investigate and explore. This helps our little one’s develop memory skills, build their vocabulary, learn how to engage with other children, while learning new skills and understanding.
Here are a few more of the most significant benefits your child will experience when they engage with play-based learning activities –
- Better social skills
- Better negotiating skills
- Better creative thinking
- Better problem solving skills
- More aware of the world around them
- More likely to challenge themselves
- More likely to try new things
We’ve spoken about the mental benefits of play-based learning, but there is also a world of physical benefits too. Here are some of the most significant ones –
- Better muscle development
- Better fine motor skills
- Better balance
- Better drawing and writing ability
- Better ha
- nd coordination
- Better sleep patterns
What can parents do to help?
There are many things you can do as a parent to create play-based learning opportunities for your little ones. In doing so, you won’t just be spending quality time with them, but as we now know, you’ll be supporting their mental and physical growth.
The best play-based learning games make use of imagination, and are spontaneous and unstructured.
Consider things like playing dress ups, constructing different things with building blocks, singing new songs, telling stories that include your little one adding details, playing with sand or water in different containers, or any game that requires them to call on a new skill to perform a fun action.
Children need the opportunity to play, explore, be curious and creative. You can give your ch
ild the opportunity to create their own learning experiences, provide them with play options, let them decide what to play, and how long they will engage in it. This fun guide has a ton of different play-based learning activity ideas you could try.
Remember you can create play-based learning opportunities inside and outside your home, as well as in parks and playgrounds. You should also try and take away any time limit to their activities, and let your little one engage with each of them for as long or short as they would like to. Letting them explore and learn on their own terms will mean they develop more efficiently, plus they’ll love every second of it – and want to engage with the activities they enjoy more often!
Start their play-based learning journey today
There’s a world of play-based learning opportunities out there, just waiting to help your little one learn and grow. Encouraging your child to engage with them is not just an amazing tool for their development, it’s also a way for them to reveal their likes, dislikes and character. Watch what they engage with more, and how they deal with risk taking and decision-making – this will give you little clues as to the kind of person your little one is becoming.
At Child’s play, we apply a play-based learning approach to everything we do. Our educators combine the theory of intentional teaching with exploration and play. As a result, we often see children are more motivated and excited to get involved and they are more engaged in their learning. We also implement the Reggio Emilia program as a way to encourage child-led learning and further develop their independent and self-help skills.
At Child’s Play, little ones are able to engage in their desired activities at various times e.g. puzzles, fine motor skills and gross motor skills both indoors and outdoors. To begin your child’s play-based learning journey, get in touch with us today.