I can remember pulling over on the side of the highway after I learned how to drive a manual transmission.
I called my husband in a panic, not knowing how to go fast quickly so I wouldn’t be rear-ended. It was a concept I didn’t understand.
And I never did until my brother let me drive his Talon.
He told me to floor it, without any concern, because he believed I knew how to fully drive a stick.
As I’m speeding down the road, the engine starts to scream, and my brother is yelling at the top of his lungs “SHIFT! SHIFT!” I quickly shift, and that’s when I finally started to understand.
After almost breaking my brother’s beloved old car, he explained it to me in a way that I understood. He knew exactly what language he needed to speak.
This is what it is like for young children. If you find a way to speak to them, they will not only blossom but thrive in their learning experience. And the perfect language is the one they know rather well… Playing! They LOVE to play! Learning through play can not only be simple but extremely enjoyable.
Play is the most important part of your child's day.
Children enhance all of their basic developmental skills through play. Play provides growth to cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being.
Your child’s ability to communicate will increase, and as a result, they will become productive listeners.
Since learning through play encourages children to speak and participate in self-talk, they will be exposed to more vocabulary.
Your child’s gross and motor-skills will develop at a higher rate. Learning through play enables your child to build the muscles they will need for later academics.
They will discover their self-awareness. Your child will gain confidence, explore their independence, and build positive self-esteem.
If play strengthens all of these aspects than learning through play is the most preferred and appropriate choice of learning. After knowing that young children need to play daily, for several hours, educating them while they sit at a desk never seemed to be the right answer.
By learning through play, children are encouraged to communicate rather than listening until they are demanded to answer.
During this form of learning, their chances of speaking their mind and running through self-talk increases.
Learning through play builds your child's creativity.
It provides them the ability to create and explore the world around them. They can master new skills and build confidence that will be needed in future tasks.
By implementing and strengthening creative play during our learning experiences, we build even more growth in several developmental areas.
You can learn more about creative play and why your child needs it here.
Learning through play exposes your child to interaction and relationship building.
They are encouraged to speak with one another and interact with one another to solve problems.
By choosing to teach our children through play, they learn to compromise, share, and take turns.
These relationships, during adolences, encourage a strong foundation for conflict resolution.
Therefore, learning through play does not mean just in academic standing, but through social interactions as well.
To understand how our children play, we need to be able to determine what stage of play they are currently at.
After you are aware, you will know what to expect and how to encourage them through their play experiences. You can find out which stage your child is at here.
Play will build parent-child bonding that lasts.
What is the most powerful way for you to build a bond with your child as they begin to reach toddler-hood?
There are so many possibilities, but playing with your child every day would build a huge bond.
A bond that no other person would have with your child. It is truly a precious thing!
Play is how children explore new things and get to know individuals. By participating in your child’s play, you begin to build trust and an understanding.
Also, you begin to respect one another more than those parent-child relationships that do not include play.
You are their first play-mate!
If you take the time to play with your child than you are preparing them for playing with their peers. They will first learn how to interact and respond through their interactions with you.
Now, How to Apply Learning through Play to Your Homeschooling.
You may think this is a hard task, but that’s the beauty of it! It is soooo simple!
You can take anything you want to teach your child and turn it into a play-based experience.
Let’s go through the steps together… Say you want to teach your child about birds.
First, start by laying out what topics you want to cover and make a stop at the library for some great reading material.
But, let’s think about some of the common things we already know about birds.
- Most birds migrate.
- They love to eat seeds, nuts, berries, and bugs.
- Birds lay eggs in nests.
- They live in trees.
- Birds can fly.
Number 1 – birds can migrate. So to teach about migration, you may use two different sides of a room and play a migration game.
Tell your child that one side of the room is going to be freezing cold and snowing, while the other is a warm summers day.
It is then up to your child, who is the bird, to decide which part of the room they should migrate to.
It’s basically like playing hot and cold but bird edition.
Number 2 – you can create a bird feeder or even set up an experiment. Start by placing different types of food outside to determine what the birds would like to eat best.
Maybe you could make yourself a snack as well! Create a trail mix snack with nuts, seeds, and berries.
Number 3/4 – build your own nest out of blankets and pretend you are high up in the trees.
Number 5 – You could help your child create their mini-wings to “fly” or even just flap their arms in the air around the house.
Also, take some time to be outside with your child. Let them count how many birds they see or ask them to tell you the difference between different birds. Letting them experience it close up is a great way to strengthen their knowledge.
Key areas to help you design your learning through play lessons.
Creating your own learning through play lessons can be simple. Sometimes it takes a bit more thinking, but these key areas are a great way to quickly create your lesson.
Create a list and add ideas to each or a few of these sections. Pictured below is a sample.
- Arts & Crafts
- Dramatic Play
- Outdoor Play
- Language – This can be a language you are teaching or sounds.
- Home Skills – Anything related to life skills.
- Cooking – Let them help with a meal or snack.
Lastly, don't forget to add some great toys for learning through play!
Having the right toys or finding ways to repurpose the toys you already have to fit your teachings is crucial!
Wooden toys are a great selection. You can find so many different options that are durable and open-ended. Meaning, you can find multiply ways to incorporate them in your teachings.
Not only that but they are also great for sparking creativity and learning.
You can also find some motivational toys for preschoolers.