Kids love to play and while some people may think it’s just a great way to keep the kids busy, it’s much more than that. Since our tagline is: “Playing is Serious Business.”, I wanted to share few thoughts behind why and how play influences child’s development.
There are so many things kids learn through play. It might be teamwork or even interacting with others. Here are just seven things kids learn through play.
Whether it’s board games or building a castle with bricks, kids can learn teamwork through playing. They learn that when they work with others, there’s a good outcome. It might be that the castle gets built faster or that the castle looks even better after putting different ideas together. Either way, it’s something valuable that your kids will learn. And surely something they will need when they grow up. You know what people say: “No man is an island!”
2. Strategy Skills
Another great thing kids learn through playing is strategy skills. It doesn’t matter if your kids are playing a board game, video game, or even playing hide and seek. All of these activities help your kids learn to plan their next move, to learn, predict and anticipate the next step.
3. Interacting with Others and Language Development
When kids play, they learn to interact with others. This might be at the playground, park, or even on a play date. If you have an only child, this is so important for your child to learn. The more your children learn to interact with others, the better. Social skills are taught since the birth, through baby’s interaction with mom and dad. When they get a bit bigger, their world expands. And their social interactions too.
4. Money Skills
Playing can even teach your kids about money. There are a number of games that teach money skills. You can even set up a fake store and sell things to your kids using play money. You can find toy cash register, credit cards, and fake money and coins in most toy stores. And it will help you too. Because, as much as you keep telling your kids how something is expensive and you can’t buy them every single thing they dream of (or see in commercials), money concept is something they don’t understand. They need to learn about it. And what a better way than through play?!
5. Hand-Eye Coordination
Playing also teaches your children hand-eye coordination. It might be reaching for blocks and placing them just perfectly or throwing a ball into a hoop. The more your kids play, the more they’ll learn. The more they play, the better they will become. Sometimes we become irritated when our toddlers keep repeating the same motion, same questions, same sentences over and over. And we really shouldn’t. Practice makes it perfect. They need to try all the different variations to see how things are built, what works and what doesn’t. They need to take things apart to learn how to put them back together.
6. Taking Turns
Playing is a great way for kids to learn to take turns. It might be playing a board game or taking turns playing with a ball. This is something children must learn. It doesn’t come naturally. The more your children play, the more chance they have to learn to take turns. Even when you have toddlers, you can start playing simplified variations of card games like Uno. You don’t have to wait until they are old enough to understand.
7. Counting and Early Math
Last, but not least, playing can be a great way for kids to learn how to count. Again, it may be through board games or playing with fake money. Best of all, when your kids are playing, they don’t realize they’re learning. And they surely are learning! Learning in a fun and engaging way! If you have a child (and you probably have since you’re reading this!), you know how kids start to count everything as early as 15-18 months? Counting steps, fingers, singing rhymes with counting? Counting is a perfect introduction to early math. It’s where learning begins.
Playing is much more important than many people think. If you feel that your kids should spend more time learning than playing, remember that they are learning. There’s so much that kids can learn through playing. So, let’s play! 🙂
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Mihaela runs Best Toys 4 Toddlers blog and loves to come up with new ideas how to use old toys her 2 daughters keep leaving on the floor to slip over. She loves them despite the fact that they call her mommy few hundred times a day, and it makes her nuts.