When your child started at nursery or even reception year, did you ever wonder why all they do is play? Did you wonder when they would start to learn something?
When my daughter started in reception year, I remember having to talk to the teacher because I didn’t feel she was learning anything. I mean, why was I sending her to school in the first place? Anyway, the teacher and I got talking and she explained how the children learn through play. I wasn’t convinced at first so I decided to go home and read up on it and low and behold, it was all there in black and white and the teacher was doing her job perfectly!
Now I am informed, I didn’t have the same issues when my youngest started at nursery and moved on to reception as I knew exactly what she was doing. So what is ‘Learning through Play’ all about and what can you, as parents, do to continue the learning at home?
Firstly, let’s have a quick look at what EYFS, (Early Years Foundation Stage), have to say about play. Play underpins the EYFS. Through play, children develop language skills, emotions and creativity and social and intellectual skills.
Play comes naturally to children so it is perfect to use play to get children to practise new skills and take risks. They can use their imagination and solve problems. They are able to use these opportunities during play to do these activities on their own or with others. School provides the perfect environment for children to develop these skills and for the teacher to observe and intervene when needed.
Secondly, let’s have a think about what you can do to help your child develop in these areas too and reinforce what they are already doing at school.
- I think it’s important to speak to the teacher, find out what the children are already doing. You could also ask for a quick catch-up every so often but most importantly, attend parents’ evening and take note of where your child is doing well and what they need to work on. You could also ask the teacher for suggestions on what you could do at home, the teacher will only be too happy to help.[spacer height=”20px”]
- Remember that play opportunities are not difficult to create. Make use of what you have around you, pull out the Lego, put some toys in a bowl of water, play a game in the garden or dig up worms! Anything can be play![spacer height=”20px”]
- Take part! Join in with the play. Have fun! If your child sees you having fun and enjoying yourself, not only are you creating wonderful memories with your child, you are giving your child an opportunity to develop essential emotional and social skills.[spacer height=”20px”]
- Invite their friends over! I know it can be a chore sometimes and really draining having all these little people running around your home but, not only are you able to see for yourself how your child interacts with other children, you’re also allowing them the opportunity to play in an environment where they feel safe. Furthermore, they are around others that they like and they are the boss because it’s their ‘ territory’![spacer height=”20px”]
- If you have a large family, lots of nieces and nephews, get together more often. It’s perfect for you to spend time with your family but also for your children to have time to play with their cousins and at their houses, using different toys.[spacer height=”20px”]
- Lastly, step back. The number of times I have heard my children say “I’m bored” is just too many to count. I tell them, they need to find something to do. If your child can suggest something to do or better still, find it themselves, you are already building independence in your child. They are learning that they are capable of making decisions but also that they can do it alone. Let them have some alone time. While they paint or build you a Lego structure, you can step back and treat yourself to a cuppa!
Here are some suggestions of toys to help your child learn through play:
Play Shop & Theatre
Role play is a great way for children to be imaginative in their own little pretend world.
This classic award winning Play Shop and Theatre allows children to learn about buying and selling, they can set up their own shop and give it their own name.
Then, spin it around to use as a theatre and the children can put on their own show!
My 1st Art Set
I know I really enjoy doing arts and crafts with my children. I love to see where their imagination can take them.
This 1st Art Set it ideal and it is filled with dough, paint, brushes, crayons, stencils and much more. Set your child up with one of these and the skies the limit!
Encourage creativity and learn about colours and textures while boosting hand-to-eye coordination, fine motor and dexterity skills too.
Little Engineer Robot Folding Workbench
Another lovely product is this Little Engineer Robot Folding Workbench.
It is ideal for little ones who like to help out in the garage and allow their imaginations to build whatever they want!
You could really join in with this one too and help you child build on their creativity.
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