Playtime can sometimes be seen as a distraction from the more traditional educational lessons of numbers and letters. But play is one of the most valuable ways in which children learn about their world, hone in and define their skills, as well as develop new skills in the process.
- Play promotes the ability for children to learn deliberately.
- Play gives children a way to express themselves when they don’t have the words to do so.
- Play promotes language, critical thinking and organizational skills.
What it looks like: Painting/Drawing What is really is: Writing skills
For young children, working with crayons and markers is a basic introduction to literacy. They are working on their fine motor skills by learning how to hold onto a writing tool. They are learning brush strokes, which will help with forming letters as they get older. They are learning in an easy and relaxing environment, allowing them to be creative with their designs.
What it looks like: Rhymes and Singing What is really is: Storytelling, narration
Basic nursery rhymes, fun and silly songs help children develop their narration / storytelling skills. Through nursery rhymes, they learn that stories have a beginning, middle and an end. Singing allows them to develop and learn about concepts outside of their daily experiences. Library storytimes are a great to learn new songs and introduce your child to their peers in a relaxing, fun and safe environment. Most libraries also hold a stay & play with educational toys after the story time.
What is looks like: Trips to the park, zoo, etc. What it really is: An awareness of the larger world
Play can be done safely in the home, it can also be done outside in parks, grocery stores, the zoo, museum, or even the post office. Every outing has the potential to be a fun and educational venture. By exploring the world around them, children learn about the societal functions of their community. They learn about community helpers (police, fireman) local retailers, volunteers, organizations, business, vehicles, buildings, etc. All the details that make up the world around them. Exposing children to a variety of cultures, people and experiences broadens their knowledge of the world.
Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.