5 Reasons Why Play Is Vital To Learning

Two-girls-playingPlaying house, playing store, games on the playground, and pretend phone calls, what do all of these scenarios have in common? They are acts of play that are also learning opportunities. It's easy to think that playing isn't learning and vice versa. To the eye, it may seem like a silly game, but in reality all of these games can have targeted objectives. Your child plays and learns at the same time, and this is how he or she will experience the world. If you originally thought that play and learning were not related, you are mistaken and we'll explain why.

1. Social skills

When your child interacts with other children and in different settings, they develop social competence and emotional maturity. Some research suggests that school success depends largely on children's ability to positively interact with their peers and other adults. Developing these social skills comes naturally through play. By practicing verbal and nonverbal communication, appreciating the feelings of others, and responding to their peers' feelings children can easily see their place in the world and how to act appropriately. In conversations and games, kids will understand the importance of waiting their turn, sharing, and listening to others' points of view. Conflicts are bound to happen, but through play children naturally and positively develop the skills required to deal with every situation.

2. Creative development

The best thing about children and play is that they bring to create their own world based on what is pleasing to them. It's interesting to watch a child's creative thought and expression develop from learning through play. This type of learning approach is ideal for children's creative and imaginative thought because they feel safe and comfortable in their own environment. Play allows children to use symbols, stimulate curiosity, and drive experimentation with different responses in different situations. Problem-solving is also developed through creative thought which thrives during play. Children are able to view each situation in their own framework and choose the best solution. Imaginations are also strengthened and children become more creative when it comes to completing tasks and solving problems in school. As play evolves over time, so do children.

3. Emotional development

Children learn through playing the positive and negative ways to express their feelings. They understand how, when, and why to cope with feelings. Play helps support this emotional development. It also enables children to communicate feelings about past events by controlling emotional expression through reenactment. For example, if a child sees a traffic accident, he might pretend he is in a car having an accident. Children can also compensate for situations by using unapproved acts in pretend play. Eating cookies and ice cream before bed for example, if in reality, they aren't allowed to do this. Play makes expressing emotional states easier for kids because they can simplify events by creating an imaginary character or story. If a child is scared of monsters in their closet for instance, in their play story they might mention keeping the closet closed at all times. These expressions are deeply important for putting a child on a healthy emotional path for their life.

4. Motor skills

You may know by now that play is a huge factor in children's fine and gross motor development. As they play and learn, their body awareness progresses and they will actively start to use their bodies. Learning to use a writing tool such as a pencil or a marker is a good example of fine motor development through play. Something that you may think is just scribbling is actually a natural progression in small motor development. In a similar fashion, gross motor developments occurs through hopping, skipping, jumping, and through other types of physical activity. All children need active play and exercise to get on the path to healthy physical development.

Play is vital to learning because of these important skills that every child must develop in order to live a happy and healthy life. Next time you think your child is just playing, remember all of these crucial developments he or she is going through. Through play, your child not only has fun, but they learn how to discover the world, form their own framework, and constructively react to people, places, and things.

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