The importance of play is vital. Play is an innate behavior in all of us and it is nature’s way of learning from an early age. Play can teach us many things – life lessons, cause and effect, theories, and more. Officially play is defined as “engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation than a serious or practical purpose”, but as we will find outplay is much more!
Why is this such an effective tool for learning for children? Most children don’t even realize that they are learning. This early positive reinforcement and association can be ingrained earlier, leading to great educational and learning habits later in life.
This type of learning through play can promote and improve cognitive development, communication skills, and relationship building.
Making learning fun is a key element in generating interest and motivation. Creating seamless learning while enjoying life.
Strategies to play learning
There are various stages of development in every child’s life and at each of those stages there are different strategies of play learning that can be utilized. Children that are 0-2 years of age are building neural connections at 1,000 per second and even up to 1 million. This can be triggered b rich environments, fostering bonds and attachment is key for socioemotional development in your child (Unicef, 2018)
During pre-school period of 2-5 years of age, your child will be expanding on their social emotional skills as well as cognitive. Play becomes an integral part of learning with others. Increasing their communication with peers whilst exploring the world around them. Creativity and imagination start to form (Unicef, 2018)
Ages 6-8 play-based learning become critical to strengthen learning outcomes and motivation. As they progress through schooling, motivation will play a big factor. One of the best ways to motivate your child is to learn through play-based activities (Unicef, 2018).
Play forms that are great for your children are:
- Socially Interactive
- Actively engaging
These all develop critical skills. To maximize these it has been suggested by Unicef (2018) that play through pre-primary, home & community interaction and primary schooling (involving free play, guided play, games and direct instructional play) all help to develop you child. Integration of methods are key to build a solid foundation of development, physically, emotionally and cognitively for your child.
In conclusion, you can see that play has a pivotal role in any child’s development and it can help facilitate your child’s motivation to learn. Although play is relatively simple concept, integrating the forms of play to hit the 5 key areas so that your child can get the full benefits of play, learning without realizing the process. Most importantly is enjoyment, the interactions are positive and helps reinforce good habits.