Play is generally defined as activity that is fun or enjoyable. There can’t possibly be any relationship between something fun and the learning and development of children. So why is play important in early childhood?
Quite the opposite is true.
People – children and adults – learn best when they are enjoying what they are doing. Play allows infants, toddlers, and preschoolers to have fun while they discover the new world around them.
What exactly are the benefits of play?
Develops cognitive ability – This includes communication and language skills, as well as critical thinking. Children learn to make decisions as they use open ended materials.
Promotes social/emotional skills – Children will learn to interact with other children as well as adults in the social construct. They can become self-motivated and dive deep into pretend play. So much so that you may think they are ignoring you when you call! Even babies can build confidence as they try out new moves or exploring with toys in different ways.
Builds physical/motor skills – Play is huge in regards to physical growth. It is usually what help babies learn to crawl or walk and toddlers how to climb. Fine motor skills can develop from all types of activities and toys that promote grasping and pinching. This is fundamental for learning to hold a writing utensil later on.
What can we do to maximize the benefits of play?
Tiny Bit of Play was created to answer this very question. Early childhood sometimes gets overlooked when it comes to authentic suggestions by experienced professionals. I wanted to change this.
Among the pages, you will find:
Highly recommended toys – As a self-described toy snob, I make sure the products you find here are developmentally appropriate, durable, and mostly open ended. This means you can generally use them across ages or for more than one developmental skill.
Tried and true activities – While unstructured play can be the best way for children to learn while playing, sometimes we need a starter. You can find open activities and ideas that will give you and your children a fresh canvas for play.
Playful Books – Some of the best playtime ideas are based off of stories we hear. The suggested books have all been read by my family or in my classrooms and are approved for a fun time.
I strongly encourage you to take any or all of my suggestions and expand on them. Give your child the foundation and let them explore. Follow their lead and watch them grow. And as always… Have Fun!