25 May The Magic Of Play
Play can take many forms, from imaginative play with dolls or action figures to outdoor games like tag or hide-and-seek. It can also include structured activities like sports or music lessons. Whatever form it takes, play is crucial for a child’s well-being and development
At Learn To Play we prioritize play and our curriculum is no exception! Pratisha Narula, our head of curriculum and product development, has devoted countless hours to selecting activities and creating the most incredible curriculum for our playgroups. We decided to ask her some questions about play and WHY she believes that it is so crucial to the development of our children.
What does play mean to you?
For me, play is a joyful process, sparking curiosity, problem-solving, and social interaction. It’s a key method of learning for everyone, kids and adults alike. Through play, we come to understand the world around us while developing a range of important skills. This includes everything from physical abilities to cognitive, emotional, and social skills. So, in essence, play is fun, but it’s also fundamental to our growth and development.
How does play benefit young children?
In a nutshell, play is a powerful catalyst for a child’s development. It nurtures cognitive growth, enhances physical abilities, promotes emotional understanding, fosters social skills, boosts language development, and stimulates creativity. Through play, children also learn self-regulation, develop resilience, and find joy in learning, making it a cornerstone of well-rounded development and well-being.
What is your favourite play-based activity from the Learn To Play Curriculum?
Creating the A-Z from the loose parts
“Loose parts” are materials that can be moved, arranged, and used in multiple ways. Examples of loose parts can be bottle caps, fabric scraps, cardboard tubes, wool, or natural objects like flowers, stones and twigs. My favourite activity is to help children build their literacy and numeracy through loose parts. We encourage children to learn letters of the alphabet and build their names, numbers and shapes from loose parts. Here’s one from the curriculum I love – building the alphabet from loose parts.
How can parents and caregivers promote play at home?
- Join in the play – Participate in your child’s play to encourage social skills and strengthen bonds. Encourage them to take the lead and follow to support their sense of agency and creativity.
- Utilise household Items – Many household items can double as toys. Pots and pans can become a drum set, a blanket can turn into a cape, and boxes can transform into playhouses or into a transportation vehicle.
- Create homemade toys and games – from as simple as collecting bottle caps of different colours and sizes, you can encourage your child to sort them by colour, size, or type to make a nature collage by taking a walk outside and collecting different leaves, flowers, and sticks and sticking them on cardboard. These activities can help develop colour recognition, counting, and fine motor skills and also promote creativity.
In conclusion, play is not just a fun activity for young children, but an essential component of their development. So, let’s encourage our children to play, explore and learn in their own unique ways!