Originally posted here.
cognitive skills – like math and problem solving in a pretend grocery store
physical abilities – like balancing blocks and running on the playground
new vocabulary – like the words they need to play with toy dinosaurs
social skills – like playing together in a pretend car wash
literacy skills – like creating a menu for a pretend restaurant
Play helps your children grow emotionally. It is joyful and provides an outlet for anxiety and stress.
Play is simple and complex. There are many types of play: symbolic, sociodramatic, functional, and games with rules-–to name just a few. Researchers study play’s many aspects: how children learn through play, how outdoor play impacts children’s health, the effects of screen time on play, to the need for recess in the school day.
As parents, you are the biggest supporters of your children’s learning. You can make sure they have as much time to play as possible during the day to promote cognitive, language, physical, social, and emotional development.
They are not separate activities. They are intertwined. Think about them as a science lecture with a lab. Play is the child’s lab.
Remember as a child how play just came naturally? Give your children time for play and see all that they are capable of when given the opportunity.
Children practice and reinforce their learning in multiple areas during play. It gives them a place and a time for learning that cannot be achieved through completing a worksheet. For example, in playing restaurant, children write and draw menus, set prices, take orders, and make out checks. Play provides rich learning opportunities and leads to children’s success and self-esteem.