THE POWER OF PLAY EDUCATION
Updated: May 19
The importance and value of education is at the forefront in our society today especially given the COVID-19 pandemic. More parents are educating their children at home now more than ever before. It’s a daunting task but there are ways to accomplish learning while still having fun and creating deep engagements with your children. One proven way is through the power of play education.
What Is Play Education
Play education is educating through to help how a child can learn to make sense of the world around them. Through play children can develop social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally, and gain the self-confidence required to engage in new experiences and environments. Like the way a psychologist will use play therapy to help children, play education is a similar concept.
Why Play Education Is Important
Play education is important because a child's neural pathways are influenced through the exploration, thinking, problem-solving and language expression which occur during
play episodes. Play nourishes every aspect of a child’s development. It forms the foundation of intellectual, social, physical, and emotional Skills necessary for success in school and in life. Play is not wasted time, but rather time spent building new knowledge from previous experience.
Free Play vs Adult Play
There are two types of play, free play and adult play and there should be a balanced approach to both.
Free play is unstructured activities like make-believe or pretend play. When children engage in real-life and imaginary activities, play can challenge children's thinking. To extend the learning process, adult play can be provided to support when necessary during play-based learning.
The level of children’s play rises when adults play with them. The joining in is different from controlling the play sessions. Controlling makes children follow their parents' agenda and does not lead to as much Cognitive development as when parents follow their children's lead. Play is the language and currency of children
The Importance of Adult Play
Sometimes as parents, it can be hard to play with your children in meaningful ways that are educational or stimulating. Here are eight ways educators and parents can get the most out of adult play.
1. Adults can role-model positive attitudes towards play. They should guide shape, engage in and extend play, rather than dictating or dominating.
2. Orchestrate environments by deciding what toys, materials, and equipment to be included. Offer a variety of materials and experiences at varying levels of difficulty. The choice of materials is important, because it provides the motivation for children's exploration and discovery. The play environment should allow children to make choices, and to explore play possibilities.
3. Observe carefully as children begin to use the toys, materials and equipment. Observation helps identify ways adults can build on and guide the learning.
4. Insinuate oneself carefully into the play activity.
5. Listen, repeat, extend and ask questions at the right time.
6. Extend children's natural observation by providing the language necessary to help children articulate what they see happening. Adults can promote play and opportunities for expansive discoveries. Adults can ask questions, to expand and enhance play.
7.Help children recognize the concepts that emerge as they grapple with the environment, make hypotheses, recognize similarities and differences, and solve problems.
8.Provide social knowledge while allowing children the opportunity to learn the physical and logical mathematical knowledge that helps them understand the world around them
Using Education Kits to Facilitate Adult Play
There are so many tools and toys available to parents to occupy and teach children. One tool that we at UpBrainery love are education kits. These hands-on kits offer an all-in-one project based activity with an end goal in mind.
These kits engage problem solving and critical thinking skills through fun activities. These kits are also a great way for parents to discover their child’s interests and passions and often provide easy step-by-step instructions to facilitate engagement where parents can follow the child’s lead. Parents should be asking questions throughout the play process to spur cognitive skills. Once the project is completed; parents should offer praise and discuss what was learned.