For some, they might see children playing and assume the kids are on a break. Many people think that if children are at play, they’re not thinking; they’re just blowing off steam. But, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Children learn through play, and as noted child psychologist Jean Piaget pointed out, “the work of childhood is play.”
As adults, people don’t always have the good fortune to love what they do for a living. Therefore, many grown-ups associate all types of work with something that isn’t fun, creative, or fulfilling. But, children learn by doing and by experiencing and exploring their surroundings. Since play incorporates all of the senses and a variety of activities, it also helps develop the whole child.
For example, the simple act of building with blocks can teach a child about balance and cause and effect. Playing tag on the school playground helps kids develop gross motor skills and learn about how their bodies move.
Helping Your Children Learn Through Play
Take a moment to push aside any possible preconceived notions you might have about learning. In other words, if you think that all education needs to be serious, quiet, and calm, it’s time to shift your perspective. Sure, learning might not always be fun, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be engaging and exciting most of the time.
Set up opportunities for creative play with your kids that can help stimulate their imaginations and curiosity. Depending on your child’s age, you can help reinforce concepts they’re learning through various approaches.
For example, if your child is working on spelling and writing their name, give them a tray full of shaving cream to trace letters. Or, let them use playdough to start to form and shape the letters of their name. Working with playdough also helps build hand strength and helps your child develop their fine motor skills.
Your Kids Might Not Even Realize They’re Learning
An interesting element of children’s work being play is that kids become so engaged in the activities that, at first, they might not even realize they’re learning. When they dig through a box full of rice and discover dinosaur fossils and various gemstones, they’re archaeologists and paleontologists.
To them, at the moment, it’s just a lot of fun, pretend play. But, soon, they’re identifying the gems, calling out names of dinosaurs, and telling you all about what paleontologists or geologists do. Your kids have learned amazing things, and they’ve done it in a way that makes them open and willing to learn more.
Learning Through Play Teaches Children That All Learning Can Be Exciting
When kids can approach concepts and ideas in a way that is interesting to them, they want to continue to learn. It’s important to let kids see for themselves that learning can be engaging and fun.
Sure, as they get older, some of the approaches to learning might become a bit more subdued. However, those early learning experiences set up a lifelong love for learning that can endure for a lifetime.
Giving your children early opportunities to participate in interactive, engaging, and fun activities can set them up for lifelong success. Explore our collection of hands-on STEAM games and materials that are sure to get your kids excited about learning.