How can you foster an environment in your home where your child can learn through play and become a successful life-long learner?
1. Provide opportunities for unstructured play: Unstructured play gives your child opportunities to discover, learn and experience at their own pace and in their own way. It is important to never underestimate what your children are learning during ‘free’ or unstructured play.
2. Turn off electronics (T.V., Ipad etc) and watch what happens: And yes I understand what I am asking; once you get past the drama and tantrums, once boredom kicks in, watch what happens! Our children are deigned to be creative. They are designed to play, experiment, push boundaries and to dream. Give them time to discover the world around them for themselves and in a way that is safe and developmentally appropriate.
Boredom is ok. It gives your child a chance to awaken their imagination, be creative and to play.
3. Provide opportunities for role play: Role play in incredibly important as it allows children to develop a number of skills including problem solving, social and conversational skills and turn taking. But more importantly it allows children time out to process and act out what is going on in the world around them.
I encourage you to listen in on your child/children’s role play. Does it sound familiar? Listening in is a great way to gain insight on what is important to your child, what they understand of their world as well as their place, or where they fit within their world and family. Role play allows children to understand and experiment with real life experiences as wells as imaginary experiences.
4. Create a safe learning environment: Every now and then I have been concerned over what I have heard my children say or do while playing and I have sometimes found it hard not to intervene and question or correct what has been said or played out. (within reason!)
I think it is important to understand that what comes out in play are often concepts that your child is trying to process and understand in the real world. Not all role play has to be rainbows and butterflies as real life is not like that either.
I think it is important to create a safe learning environment where children can play out their thoughts, fears, joys and challenges in a safe environment. By ‘safe’ I mean of course physically safe but also emotionally safe; where they are free imagine as well as process thoughts and concepts during play.
5. Provide opportunities for imaginative play: Imagination allows your child to take control. It allows them to create scenarios, to experiment, to be creative and to have fun. Children are naturally curious and imaginative. Pique their curiosity with ‘what if’ questions during play and give them opportunities to develop this curiosity naturally.
Our brand new wooden play sets are perfect for creating an environment for your child to grow and develop with play-based learning. Check our our new range by clicking on the images below!