Updated: May 6, 2021 2:51:18 pm
By Sheetal Shaparia
Children are concrete learners who learn things by doing them. This is why play is such a powerful tool. Instead of using pencil and paper to teach new concepts, be innovative. For instance, Legos for letter formation or art materials and even household items. This is a great way to keep kids engaged without it feeling forced. When children choose to play, it creates powerful learning opportunities across all areas of development including motor, cognitive, social, and emotional skills.
Here are some of my most recommended ways for a play-based and engaging learning:
Act it out
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Young children love to listen and tell stories. Instead of having them tell a story, act it out! When you read them a story, don’t just simply keep talking, children below five years don’t understand all the words and concepts. Hence, act out while you tell them a story or even when you talk for that matter and they will do the same. This way, they will enjoy storytelling and even talking, which will help them be fully engaged in learning.
Puzzles develop your child’s problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. While solving a puzzle, the brain, eyes, and hands work together to find the piece, manipulate it accordingly, and fit it into the puzzle accurately. For babies and toddlers, gross motor skills can be enhanced with stacking blocks and other large, easy puzzles.
One of the best ways to induce creativity in your child is Do-It-Yourself. I know some DIY ideas are really fun for kids but have a tendency to make you feel trapped in the house with all the mess, but it’s worth it. Apart from creativity, the joy of successfully completing a project on their own can boost your child’s confidence. Examples of DIY activities may include painting, remodelling, cooking, gardening, and even the making of holiday or birthday gifts. The possibilities are endless!
If you have a garden in your backyard, a balcony or even a single plant on your window, this is a perfect opportunity to teach math and science concepts while your kids get some much-needed fresh air. Make sure when you water your plants or sow seeds, include your little ones in it. You can have them measure water into a watering can, count seeds, start tallying days on a calendar to keep track of plant growth, and record observations. This will help improve their basic math and science skills while you get little hands for help.
Set up a home office for kids
Pretend play impacts children’s social, cognitive, and emotional growing abilities. This improves their imaginations, problem solving skills and creativity. Children don’t listen to you, they copy you. In this given situation, if you have a home office, this is again a perfect opportunity. Set up a home office for your kids and they’ll enjoy the chance to be “just like you”. Set up a pretend office in a corner of your home where kids can make calls, write letters and send them, and type important emails. To spice it up a little, pretend with them. Give them a call and ask when the mail will be arriving, or ask to have a face-to-face meeting in their office. They will love it!
Encourage nurturing play
Encourage your child when they protect their dolls or stuffed animals like you protect them. It is a good way for children to refocus their feelings and practice caring behaviour. Help children create caregiving scenarios and praise children for their “babies”. Be sure to include even your boys in this activity, every child can benefit from practicing their caring skills.
Other indoor activities
Every item in your house can be used for playful learning. For instance, give your two-year-old their dad’s shaving cream. Spread it on a tray and draw numbers, letters, pictures, etc. Then swirl in different coloured paints and make prints on paper (great for card-making). Give your five-year-old a dice to make up their own simple addition. Ask them to roll the dice and write the number down, roll again to get another number and then add them up. Sounds fun, right? Another fun activity would be to ask your kids to draw a picture following your instructions, for example, make a small circle in the middle of the page, add a triangle to the top of the circle etc. The first one to guess the object at the end of the game wins a small prize. Children are competitive and will love such kinds of activities.
(The writer is a Life Coach who helps people in terms of mental health, parenting, love, happiness and experience the peace of knowing the right path to travel in life)
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