Let me start off by referencing a quote that I truly abide by as an educator and now as a mom I can totally resonate with this too! Play is something that takes place at a very young age. There’s different types of stages and development of play! As a kindergarten teacher, I see play in the eyes of a 5 year old. Now as a mom with an almost 11 month old I see where the strings attach. It’s crazy to me to think that even at Corbin’s age and even before (6 months) purposeful play starts!
There is so much learning and growth that occurs during a time of play. Studies show that child learn faster when done in play. I came across this stat and I found it very eye opening.
Crazy right? It just goes to tell how much can be learned. With purposeful play child learn fine motor skills, gross motor skills, problem solving, develop vocabulary, learn to plan and negotiate, express their imagination and so much more.
Furthermore, The authors in the book I read for teaching called, “Purposeful Play” recapped the value that play brings. In further studies of play they identified four principal ways in which play influences child development.
1. Play affects the child’s motivation.
2. Play facilitates mindfulness of others.
3. Play advances the development their imagination.
4. Play fosters the development of deliberate behaviors.
I believe, and have witnessed first hand, how important play is for children and their development. It makes a huge difference in their ability to share, cooperate and communicate. One of my favorite things to do during purposeful play time is to eavesdrop on my students’ conversations. Ig et a giggle out of it,. At times, I give opportunities to struggle through problem solving. They get better at it each time. Unstructured playtime allows them opportunities to practice their communication, sharing and cooperating skills like no other time during the day. This is one of the reasons I will continue to advocate for play time in my Kinder class and with littles as young as Corbin!
Just like we give play time for a 5 or 6 year old, we need to provide that same opportunity for babies. It holds the same purpose! Parents did you know, playing and giving uninterrupted time with your kids to play fostering motor skills and other developmental skills. That time with them is so important. It doesn’t need to be all day, only 20 minutes is so beneficial.
I have linked some of my favorite new toys and game ideas by age group. I have done my far share of research as a mom and early educator that I feel pretty confident in these finds/ideas for you mamas!
Toddler (1-3 years)
Preschool (3-5 years)
Dramatic play centers- vet clinic, grocery store, doctors office, post office, airport, pumpkin farm, fire station, ice cream stand, kitchen, American Idol, dentist office, camp site, construction zone.
Creation Station– arts and crafts
Providing games or board games with rules is a great way to provide purposeful play.
Grade school age (5-12 years)
Some youngsters may still be interested in dramatic play as linked and indicated in the preschooler category and that’s appropriate.
Remember mamas, allow for time and a good environment for exploration. Note, it is okay for your little to get frustrated during play, that is okay and totally allowed. It’s all about learning!
Love from Texas,