Everything you need to know about how kids learn through playing
Learn though play - How do kids learn through play?
We may see play as a sanity saviour on some days, especially when you are working from home and doing the all too familiar juggle. But it is so much more than that. Learning through play is an incredibly important part of a child’s development. So, rather than feeling guilty about leaving your kids to play on their own, set them up so they can be getting the most out of it. It’s the best thing you can do for them!
Play is key to kids learning and development, particularly in the preschool years. Some of the most amazing people in the world like Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs had their interest peaked in childhood in fields that they would come to revolutionise as adults.
Children learn through all their senses from a very young age. Taste, touch, vision, hearing and smelling all play an important role from infanthood. It’s how they start to connect ideas, things, communication, emotions and behaviour. For example, they watch people around them, how they interact, speak, physically respond and behave; and they will copy it through different scenes they act out with their dolls, including injecting the emotions \ feelings that they observed.
Here are just some of the ways kids learn through play:
- Observing adults and mimicking how they interact together helps them develop their social skills.
- The imaginative worlds that kids create help bring their logical, creative and emotional skills together.
- Role playing games help them make sense of the world and can help them understand events, reformulate scary and confusing events into more emotionally palatable scenarios. It also helps develop communication and language skills.
- Reading can and should be encouraged from a young age for communication skills. Read with them, talk through the words and pictures and help them understand the underlying meaning of the story.
- Dancing, jumping, rolling, running, digging – these develop physical skills and gross motor function
- Drawing, painting, building – develop creative skills as well as fine motor skills
- Building and puzzles help with creativity and problem solving; and depending on the puzzle can be educational about the world, space, history, flora and fauna too.
- Outdoor play can elicit a sense of adventure, teach them about the world, their place in it as well as help them realise their sensory needs. Plus it’s just good to be outside in the fresh air and sun!
- Playing with other kids is not only more fun (most of the time) but also helps with social skills and more often than not, problem solving!!
- As their skills develop in different areas and they are able to resolve challenges with bigger builds and puzzles; and work through more intricate doll role play scenarios; or master a physically difficult task like climbing or dancing - their self-worth is being built and their confidence increases.
Learn though play - What are the benefits of learning through play?
Learning through play is a safe way for kids to work on their developmental needs without pressure and without judgement. Learning through play is an incredibly important part of a child’s development. Kids learn better through play. Allowing them time to play not only releases energy and teaches them skills, it also heightens their curiosity; always searching for new things to discover, questions to answers, challenges to solve. Learning through play allows them to make mistakes and have the confidence to try again, and not give up.
Research has shown time and time again, that play can help enhance learning and develop creative, social, emotional, communication, problem solving, confidence, numeracy and literary skills; as well as physical, muscle development. Additionally, as kids can become absorbed in what they are doing, it does help develop their ability to concentrate. (That’s not a skill I have yet mastered, but I am working on it daily!!)
Through play, children learn many different life skills that they will need to keep coming back.
Learn though play - Ideas for this kind of learning
You can help your little ones with different set ups in the house to encourage play and learning in different ways. Don't push your child too hard. Children develop in their own ways and even though there are general milestones as they are growing these are a guide.
Here are some play ideas that you can easily set up in your home.
- sensory play including, music, mobiles, soothers and play gyms
- as they grow introduce toys that encourage hand-eye coordination and toys with flashing lights and different sounds
- problem solving toys such as blocks
- count as you walk up and down stairs to introduce numbers
- dolls and accessories
- books with pictures
- basic ball games
- building sets
- dolls and accessories
- sand and containers
- dress ups
- painting, colouring, drawing
- reading both fiction and non-fiction books
- outdoor exploration – good for the soul, plus you can collect lots of treasures like sticks and leaves and make things from them, like a zoo or a leaf person!
There is a more comprehensive play guide by age which you can find it here from a past blog. Check it out for more ideas. Also, if your little one is at childcare or kinder chat to the educator and get ideas based on what they are teaching there.
For now, I will leave you on this note – when learning is fun, learning is easy. Enjoy your little ones journey, give them a nudge, give them a hand and most of all lots of kisses and cuddles. Enjoy each other!
Learn though play - Best Toys For Learning
We have some amazing toys and activities that will inspire learning through play. Here are just some of the best toys for learning that we have.
Children learn to recognize colours and shapes and develop basic problem-solving abilities with this stacking puzzle.
It is ergonomically designed for little hands to hold and has no sharp edges or delicate parts.
Dena Toys are safe, fun, and facilitate free play and creativity.
The pastel rainbow toy is a teether and playmate all in one. Super soft and chewy!!! Thanks to its soft material and its design, your baby will start to stimulate his creativity from the first day. You will spend the day experimenting, playing, and biting safely. With dëna, his first toy is very fun, very safe, and very useful for psychomotor development.
These are so hypnotising. Kids (and some adults -me) love these.
Turn the rain maker over and stimulate senses with vibrant trickling beads and soothing raindrop sounds. Perfectly designed shape makes it easy for a toddler to hold. With the easy grip, you can easily switch this toy into a shake and rattle sensory activity.
This pull along toy with little animal characters also comes apart. Bear, Bunny and Mouse are made of pieces that can be taken apart and then re-stacked. So your little one can practice putting it back together and then take it for a walk.
Great for motor skill development as well as memory and concentration.
The Dinkum Dolls are made from the softest, snuggliest cotton outer, making them perfect for not only playing with, but cuddling and going to sleep alongside. They feature the sweetest embroidered details, from their eyes and mouth, to the little rainbow over their heart. There are also accessories which you should check out that are just like originals just so much smaller and even cuter. Your little ones will to role play with these beautiful dolls.
If your kids are like mine they love learning about planets and the universe in which we live. This 70 piece puzzle includes planet shaped puzzle pieces and translations into French, Spanish, and German on the back of the puzzle pieces. Featuring fun illustrations, this puzzle is both engaging and educational.
The world is changing and with it the animals that inhabit it. The 205 piece puzzle shows the animals that populate Earth, each continent. Whiles the 32-page book teaches kids about endangered animals.
Discover the lives of outstanding people from designers and artists to scientists in this book series. All of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream.
An adorable woodland themed adventure kit with a waterproof mat and bag. Head out on a forest adventure with this great set for kids. Comes boxed, so great for a present.