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How and What Children Learn Through Play

Play is the work of children it involves the same actions as work; Interacting with people, manipulating objects and making discoveries help make sense of the world. Through play learning happens naturally. Children must develop physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and creatively for school success. Play is a crucial part of the development of the whole child. Playing with small toys like puzzles and blocks helps children fine motor skills and hand- eye coordination, the skills needed for reading and writing. Play helps them to communicate in many ways; it helps them have fun with language.

Play builds their foundation for future learning. Children learn cause and effect through manipulation and handling toys and creative materials. Through play they make observations to understand quantity. Play helps children to make choices and decisions and solve problems. Play is critical for social development, helping children develop rules and their purpose.

Children learn from table toys

  • Language as they:
    • Express ideas
    • Ask questions
    • Describe their play
  • Math skills as they:
    • Put things in order
    • Do patterns
    • Sort objects
    • Recognize whole and part
  • Eye-Hand Coordination
    • Skills needed for writing
  • Identifying similarities and visual skills

Children Learn through sand and water play

  • Language as they discuss and share ideas
  • Math skills
    • Measuring
    • Pouring
    • More or less
    • Light or heavy
    • Full or empty
    • Equal
  • Understanding of conservation-changes in size doesn’t mean changes in amounts
  • Hand coordination and sensory awareness
    • From measuring, pouring, and splashing
  • Social Skills
    • Sharing space
  • Provides them with opportunities to solve problems, create and explore

Children learn through block play

  • Basic Math
    • How much space is needed
    • How many blocks to complete
    • How many blocks to build it taller
    • Balance
    • Classifying as a group by size

Children learn through Dramatic Play:

  • Pre-reading skills as they look at
    • Tickets for playing theater
    • Menus for playing restaurant
    • Labels for playing grocery store
  • Prewriting skills
    • For making the items mentioned above
  • Emotional Development
    • It offers them a safe avenue to explore fears, anger, and anxiety.

Children learn through art materials:

  • Pre-reading skills
    • They make choices
    • They visually discriminate between color as they draw and paint and shapes when they make collages. This is a skill needed in early stages of reading to distinguish between letter forms
    • Prewriting by exercising the small muscles in their hands and fingers to be able to hold and control pencils
    • Self-expression a safe way to express thoughts and feelings