Contributed By: Kristen of Twins at Play!*
Kids need to get messy. Kids need to explore, get their hands covered in goo, and play. They need to play to learn, they need to learn through play. There have been studies done that show if a child is set in a classroom and made to be a strict student from an early age, they have no upper hand advantage over a child that was allowed to be a child and play to gain their knowledge. When you hear the term “learning through play”, don’t think of a kid sitting there rolling around a car and compare it to a kid sitting at a desk being drilled by flash cards and worksheets. That is not what learning through play is.
Learning through play is taking normal learning concepts and making them fun, interesting, expressive, artistic, in depth, creative, hands on, customized, and nurturing.
The children are still learning all of the important basics that they need, just in a way that is better for them, their heart, mind, body, and soul. Have you ever heard of, or read an article, or maybe saw a movie, about an overworked child that stresses so much over academics because they are pushed so hard and then desire to work so hard that it starts to have lasting effects on them and their sanity? What is positive about that? What is positive about forced learning, or forced therapy for a child with a disability, like Autism? If a child is miserable, feeling overwhelmed, upset, angry, or frustrated, are they really learning more than a child who is allowed to learn through play at a pace that works for that individual child?
Have you ever heard of:
- Montessori Education
- Waldorf Education
- Reggio Emelia approach to education
- A book called Einstein never used flashcards
If not, I deeply encourage you to check all of that out. It is well worth having the knowledge.
There is a world of knowledge out there, put to life through the inspiring and enlightening blogs of hundreds of dedicated and intelligent parents. You can find thousands of links to these wonderful blogs on Pinterest.com I highly recommend you check out kids co-op and kid blogger network on Pinterest. I was lucky enough to discover Play at home mom, last year.
Play at home mom’s blog and facebook posts opened up a whole new world for me and my children, as well as my friends and their children through my playgroup. I soon found out that the direction I was going with my twins in learning and play was basically the same path that PAHM and hundreds of others were on as well. I soon found blog after blog after blog with a wealth of knowledge packed inside them. I was already on a learning through play path with my twins, our home preschool group, and our playgroup. I was able to try some of the very interesting learning through play ideas on other blogs and tweak them a little here and there to work for us, or make them even more fun and interesting.
There is a really great article on the blog Not Just Cute about how sensory play is science to children. The article states that children explore their world through the use of the Scientific Method, or Scientific Inquiry. Not Just Cute also explains how sensory play is so important to preschoolers. You can view a really great article on Rhythm of the home which features the Play At Home Mom team using light tables for reggio inspired sensory experiences. You can find dozens of wonderful Montessori inspired sensory, learning, and play experiences on Living Montessori Now.
Learning through play has a lot to do with the materials and toys that you provide to your child as well. You can read a little about that here and you can see many examples of great materials and toys here. These are not your average toys. I had to search high and low and do a lot of research to be put into the right direction to find them. I hope you enjoy checking them out.
Thank you to Twins At Play for contributing this article. We hope you learned something knew or have gained a new outlook on how your children learn. As always great articles like this can be found on Kristin’s Blog Twins At Play.