Today’s guest post has been written by Susanne Remic, a primary school teacher, writer and mother of 3. Susanne blogs at Ghostwritermummy and is passionate about helping her children to learn through play. Today she writes about why play is so important to children.
From the very moment a baby is born, she is relying on her senses to explore the world around her. Voices, colours, sounds, smells and tastes open her up to new experiences and a variety of ways to stimulate her senses. And as children grow older, their sense of curiosity and thirst for knowledge grows. Ask any parent- ‘Why?’ is often the most commonly used word for most toddlers! And if you think about it, that makes perfect sense. There is so much in the world that is just waiting to be discovered and the fact that the world is a playground is never more true than when it comes to children. When you see your child reach for her first toy, and watch how her eyes light up, it becomes clear that the importance of play is not something to be taken lightly!
As a primary school teacher, I know that children learn best when they are relaxed, happy and inspired. One of the best ways to spark interest in any subject is by taking the time to get to know the children- their interests, their likes and dislikes- and incorporating these into your plans. Creativity and fun is the key to making children want to engage and this general rule applies to almost every aspect of a child’s life- play is no different. Ask any child that you know what they like doing best and almost inevitably they will say ‘playing’. And with good reason!
Play is good for the soul
When a child engages in a toy, she is following her own ideas and interests, creating imaginary worlds and exploring new sensations and situations that are otherwise outside of her normal grasp. She is learning lots of other skills too:
- fine and gross motor skills
- social skills- sharing, taking turns etc
- problem solving
- self awareness, self esteem and self respect
- imagination, independence and creativity
- learning about different environments and backgrounds
Learning through play
As a teacher and a parent, play is very important to me because I know that it provides the foundations for learning essential skills. I know that it makes my children happy and gives them opportunities to learn and nurture new skills for later life. Simple games can teach many concepts and many children will not even realise they are learning at all. I love nothing more than to sit back and watch my son immerse himself in little worlds filled with dinosaurs and fairies, casting himself as a brave warrior battling caped crusaders and monsters. I love watching my daughter lovingly rock her doll to sleep in her pram and feed wooden food to her teddy bears. I love watching them stick their tongues out in concentration as they cut and stick. I love listening to the excitement in their voices as they discover imaginary worlds you and I can only dream of. I love seeing them smile.
Every child has the right to play
We all want to be happy in life and children are no different. One child’s source of enjoyment may be a doll, another’s may be a train set. Whatever it is, a child will find a million and one ways to play with it, and that will make them happy. Every child has the right to be happy; every child has the right to play.