As a society, we can often write off “playtime” as unimportant, or find ourselves thinking of education and play as two completely separate things. But for young children, play is a vital part of learning and development. This provides a safe space for ideas to be expressed, creativity to flow, social skills to flourish, and problem-solving to be developed. In this article, we will share some tips on how to educate your children through play.
Encourage Creativity And Experimenting
Planning some crafting activities is a great way to educate your children through guided play. You might wonder what your kids can learn from making greeting cards or pasta necklaces — after all, crafts with preschoolers tend to just be a lot of glitter and mess, right? Well, wrong. Arts and crafts activities can teach all sorts of useful, modern skills to little ones, whether it’s social skills such as sharing and communicating ideas, or critical thinking and problem-solving to work around a mistake.
Creative play like arts and crafts also give kids a chance to explore their ideas and express themselves creatively — allowing them a safe space to test stuff out without fear of judgment or repercussions. That’s how kids learn how to make mistakes, build up confidence, and establish their own identity with personal likes and dislikes — all incredibly important things to learn.
Teach Them About Fun Food And Textures
Whether you are cooking dinner, baking a cake together, or carrying out daily chores like washing the dishes, you can have a lot of fun in the kitchen with your kids. In addition, it is a great way for parents to educate through play.
Encouraging your child to take a more active role in the kitchen will get them excited about food, more enthusiastic about trying out new dishes and flavors, and help them to become more comfortable with household chores. There are all sorts of fun recipes you can try out with kids and make together. This includes cookies or cupcakes, or pizzas and fajitas. Let your children choose a recipe or idea that they are excited about. This will boost their confidence and help them to feel like they’re valued.
Whatever you choose, your kids will really see the benefits. Smaller children like toddlers will have multi-sensory fun though touching, tasting, and smelling new ingredients and different foods. And older children will be able to practice their weighing and counting skills as you measure out ingredients together, as well as learning to follow a recipe.
Practice Problem-Solving & Teamwork
Kids love dens. It is a fact. And giving your children the opportunity to make their own den provides plenty of opportunities to practice problem-solving and teamwork! Building a den is a super easy and exciting way for kids to learn through play. Think about the skills it develops: your child has to get creative and think logically to sort out things like the structure of their den and fix problems. How will it stay up? And what if something keeps falling down? What will they use as an access point or door?
It is not just critical thinking that den-building encourages, either. Den-making with siblings (or you!) helps kids to work on their teamwork and cooperative skills as they work with someone else to construct their perfect den. Plus, they have to communicate their own thoughts and ideas to other people for this teamwork to work out properly! This can help with all sorts of things, like communication and language development.
As a parent, there are a few ways you can get involved and guide den-play. You can suggest appropriate materials and tools, such as old sheets, clothes pegs, and cardboard boxes. Or you could input some helpful suggestions and your own den-building tricks. However, the important thing is to let your kids take the lead. This is their opportunity to make their own decisions, explore their own ideas and creativity, and boost their confidence.
Teach Them About Science & Nature
Playing in your backyard is the perfect way for preschoolers to learn while still having plenty of fun. Whatever the weather, small kids love being outdoors and exploring — especially at a time where we’re all a little cooped up and feeling restless.
Getting out in your garden is the ideal opportunity to blow those cobwebs away and introduce some interactive, touchy-feely fun activities, where your little person can learn all about local wildlife, plants, and weather. There are tons of fun and educational activities you can put on in your backyard, so it really depends on how brave (or squeamish) you are as a parent!
For example, creepy crawlies can be found everywhere, so why not have a sort of bug hunt around your backyard? How many different bugs can you find in the backyard together? Introducing your preschooler to minibeasts at a young age will help them to learn more about the natural world — including different bugs and their habitats under rocks or plants — as well as improving their vocabulary. You could ask them to describe the bugs they find, or even draw some of their favorite creepy crawlies once you’re back inside.
There are so many ways that you can educate your children through play as a parent. Try to strike a balance of providing kids with activities and ideas for guided play, as well as letting them loose with their own imaginations for pretend play; it’s healthy to have a mix, and all types of play will teach your children valuable skills. Most of all, remember to have fun!
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