Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Learning Through Play

"Playtime is a favorite past time for many kids.  It's important as it provides basic skills, skills that can last a lifetime.  Playing leads to exploration, to discovery, and to building relationships.  One of the neatest benefits, one that some kids don’t even realize is happening, is that they are learning the entire time that they are playing." 

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Little Buddy's recent LEGO creations inspired me to search for that paragraph.  It's part of an article that I wrote last year.  I submitted the article, but it didn't get published.  No worries, I can share it here!  Before I share that article, which I titled Learning Through Play, check out Little Buddy's latest.  
With a bucket of LEGOs, with loads of extra playtime, and with his imagination as his guide, he proudly showed me these last week.  He made BB8 first.  While telling me about how he built it, Little Buddy added, "I'm going to make R2D2 next."  

And he did.  

WOW!  

Little Buddy's LEGO creations: BB-8 and R2-D2
And now for the article that describes just a few of the benefits of learning through play:

"Learning through play happens every day.  It happens at home, at school, and wherever kids are allowed to play.  When kids are allowed to explore, to manipulate materials, and most importantly, are encouraged to have fun, they are able to do two things they do best:  being curious and playing. 

Kids accomplish so much while playing.  Exploring, touching, manipulating.  Most kids can’t help but pick up an object to see what it does.  Their curiosity gets the best of them.  Oftentimes, once they figure out what the object can do, kids can’t help but play with it.  That natural curiosity can inspire both intellectual growth as well as physical growth.  Those skills, ones that will see them through their educational career, can shape their future working career, too. 

When pretending to be a doctor, an astronaut, or an engineer, oftentimes, kids’ playtime mimics real-life activities.  It recreates everyday environments and real-life moments.  Within those moments, new information is discovered.  That new information isn’t just a discovery about the object that kids are playing with; it’s a discovery of information about themselves. 

During playtime, kids realize that that they are talented.  They discover that they have useful skills.  They can build.  They can problem solve.  They can make something out of nothing.  When they see those skills in use, and when they see that their efforts lead to success — like when they test the strength of a bridge they built with balsawood or when they attach the final piece of equipment to their roller coaster or when their last LEGO piece fits perfectly in their build, kids aren't only creating fun projects; they are creating a positive self-esteem. 

Playtime is a favorite past time for many kids.  It's important as it provides basic skills, skills that can last a lifetime.  Playing leads to exploration, to discovery, and to building relationships.  One of the neatest benefits, one that some kids don’t even realize is happening, is that they are learning the entire time that they are playing. 

Hands-on learning moments motivates kids.  It helps them to discover how things work.  It makes them realize how much they are capable of doing as well.  

Reading from text books and following directions have a time and a place in a child's life, but play should come first.  It's what kids do best."

I have a few more articles like that one that have yet to be published.  I'll share them after Little Buddy makes some more amazing builds.  

xo, Cat



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