Play gives children a chance to practice what they’re learning.During social play, children progress through social stages by interacting with other children in recreational and learning activities. The goal of social play is to progress toward and master cooperative play. Children first observe other children then play alone before moving to the stages involving parallel and cooperative play.
Don’t underestimate the value of play. Children learn and develop:
cognitive skills – like math and problem solving in a pretend grocery store
physical abilities – like balancing blocks and running on the playground
new vocabulary – like the words they need to play with toy dinosaurs
social skills – like playing together in a pretend car wash
literacy skills – like creating a menu for a pretend restaurant
Play helps children grow strong and healthy. It also counteracts obesity issues facing many children today. It helps your children grow emotionally. It is joyful and provides an outlet for anxiety and stress.
Play is a child’s context for learning.
Children practice and reinforce their learning in multiple areas during play. It gives them a place and a time for learning that cannot be achieved through completing a worksheet. For example, in playing restaurant, children write and draw menus, set prices, take orders, and make out checks. Play provides rich learning opportunities and leads to children’s success and self-esteem.
Thus play is far more powerful for children, however, than many parents realize. It’s actually the key to learning.