Remember the “good old days”? The familiar expression contains a degree of truth, with some of our fondest memories coming from playtime during our childhood. We can still think back to the days when we played hopscotch or snakes and ladders! But play isn’t just about fun — it plays a crucial role in learning and skill development for children. Read on to discover why learning through play is essential and why parents should allocate playtime for their children.
Play and learn (it’s a thing!)
Play may seem simple, but it’s a natural and powerful way to facilitate learning. Engaging in play brings delight to children, which, in turn, provides cognitive benefits such as enhanced working memory, improved attention, and better stress regulation. When children learn playfully, they have the opportunity to pursue their natural curiosity and as they do so, they build skills and faculty they’ll keep for life.
Play is one of the most important ways children learn. Research suggests that learning through play helps achieve learning at a deeper level. Dr Karuppiah, the Head for Education at National Institute of Education’s Centre for Research in Child Development, explains that children tap into all their five senses when they are learning through play, and this helps them attain deeper learning as compared to doing worksheets.
Play-based learning improves academic outcomes
Who says that the solution to better academic results has to be boring? Play-based learning has been shown to have a direct impact on math and literacy skills. Imagine a restaurant-themed math activity where children play the roles of cashiers and customers ordering food. Through play, children practise their communication and math skills while calculating payments, giving change, and engaging with their peers. Play-based activities such as these create opportunities for children to develop their skills in a fun and natural way, while also linking their experience to the real-world context.
Play facilitates socio-emotional development
Academic skills aren’t the only ones that matter. Soft skills like communication, persuasion, and public speaking are vital for success in project work and future endeavours. By engaging in play, children naturally connect with others, and this fosters their socio-emotional development in the process. Starting early on allows them to hone these skills while they are young, and benefits them in the long run.
Play fosters creativity
The ability to for children to be creative, to be able to freely try out new ideas and make whatever activity they are doing their own, fosters important mental development milestones. Take block play, for example, children are presented with math challenges such as measurement, balance, and shape. Through creative play, children develop new ways of thinking and problem solving. Whether your child is a budding artist or scientist, creativity is a treasured skill in the 21st century as it helps people come up with innovative solutions.
Play. Learn. Thrive.
After learning more about play and the benefits it brings, it is undeniable that playtime is essential for your little ones. Learning through play not only supports socio-emotional development in children, but also boosts their academic skills and creativity. It’s essential for parents to set aside time for play and be actively involved in your children’s exploration of the world around them. After all, this is one of the best ways to learn!
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