I am an Early Childhood Professional. The whole time I have been in this field I have operated on a “play-based” philosophy. Some people believe that using baby games isn’t a way to educate, but I beg to differ.
Children need play in their lives. This world already forces them to grow up too fast. To lose their innocence to early. Why do we also feel it necessary to give them workbooks and test them with flash cards before they are 3?
There is a lot to be learned from putting a puzzle together. We are helping them to develop their fine motor skills. Learning to recognize shape, patterns and colors. All the time, children are just having fun. There are giant floor puzzles that you can start working on from a young age.
The Benefits of Puzzles in Early Childhood is a wonderful article that talks about the many rewards of working on a puzzle with children. From Physical, to Cognitive to Emotional skills. First you can work on them with the baby watching. Eventually the baby will be able to place a piece or two. Then by watching you, they will learn how to do a whole puzzle on their own. You will be able to watch their progression right in front of your eyes.
Simple board games are another great example of a way that children can learn through play. Top 10 Reasons to Play Board Games with Your Kids. Take a game like Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel for instance. Children can learn matching, sorting, colors, turn taking and thinking skills.
This game is wonderful for young children and they love to play it. When they first start they might not understand the full concept, but that is the beauty of starting young. Each time they play they will remember something else. They can start with recognizing what they already know and developing on those skills. Board games are a wonderful way for children to develop social skills. Starting with their parents and siblings then moving on to their friends.
Let the Children Play from Smithsonianmag.com is a wonderful read. An article about the benefits, what children are learning and why we should be allowing preschoolers to “play” more.
Kids deserve to be kids longer. Playing and having fun, that is what being a kid is all about. They can learn so much about the world, life and other people through play. Why are we in such a rush for them to “grow up?” So concerned that if we don’t sit them down at 2 and force them to learn their ABCs, write their name and be able to read that we are some how failing as a parent or teacher.
What do you think? Do you believe that playing with your kids helps to prepare them for school and educate them? Do you believe in a “play-based” philosophy? Help me out by commenting on and sharing this post! Thank you in advance.