November 9, 2023

The Role of Play in Early Childhood Education

The Role of Play in Early Childhood Education

You do not have to teach a child to play. Children as young as newborns can move their hands and limbs in free movements—which is their way of play. As a child grows older, their definition of play changes from mastering basic coordination movements and grips to more complex movements to enhance their motor skill development. Simply put, playing is the most natural way for children to be active and learn new skills through regular playful activities. Are you wondering, "What is play in early childhood education?" Here's all you need to know.

What is Play-Based Learning?

Play-based learning is a cornerstone of early childhood development and education. It is a form of learning that focuses on the child's natural strengths, interests, and needs. It helps cultivate key skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and cognitive and creative development necessary for success later in life.

As a parent, you can support play-based learning through storytelling, doing simple craft projects, engaging in imaginative play, and setting up natural outdoor experiences such as hunting for insects or planting a garden. 

The importance of child's play is that allowing your child to be creative and letting them explore their interests through learning can lead to exciting opportunities, growth, and development.

Benefits of Play in Early Childhood Education 

Through play, you can foster and encourage essential learning experiences for your child. The importance of play in early childhood is that it builds skills such as problem-solving, physical coordination, language and communication, creativity, and imagination. 

Playing allows children to interact with peers and adults, learn new vocabulary and concepts, and practice motor skills, among many other developmental benefits. For example, learning to take turns and share with others when playing games or puzzles can help children cultivate strong social skills.

How can Parents Promote Early Childhood Education Through Play?

You are your child's cornerstone, hero, and mentor. The world of children has one pivotal character—their parents and it is in their arms that children understand and enjoy every nuance of life. You play a quintessential role in your child's development—physically, mentally, and emotionally, especially in the formative and impressionable years.

Let Us Look at Some Ways You can Promote Early Childhood Education Through Play:

  • Ensuring Time for Structured and Unstructured Play

There are two types of play in early childhood—structured and unstructured play. Structured play is a form of play guided by rules, such as board games, playing catch, or even a visit to the zoo. Unstructured play is spontaneous and creative, such as when a child plays with dolls or creates art. 

Both are extremely important in encouraging the development of physical, intellectual, emotional, and social skills as they allow children to be creative and engage in problem-solving. Additionally, the benefits of play in child development include engaging with others and developing their social skills and communication.

  • Engaging in Interactive Play with Their Child

Playful interaction is an important part of early childhood development and learning. You can support your child's development by playing together, talking, and laughing as they build block towers, look at books, or create art.

Additionally, you can take turns with your partner wading in the pool for a fun round of splashing and giggles, dancing to kids' music, or making silly faces in a game of peekaboo. By engaging in activities like these, you can unleash your child's creativity, inspire curiosity, boost self-confidence, and show that learning can be fun.

Benefits of Art and Music in Early Development 

Art and music can have a profound effect on early development. From music aiding language acquisition to art inspiring creativity and imagination, these practices benefit children's growing minds. Music can help children express themselves, learn new instruments, and experience the joy of creating something on their own. 

Art offers wonderful opportunities to explore colours, patterns, and shapes while helping develop crucial motor skills. As a parent, there's no better way to encourage your child's growth than through art and music.

Tips for Establishing Early Learning Habits 

Establishing early learning habits is an important step in child development. You can help encourage these habits by creating a comfortable and enriching learning environment at home.

  • Start by setting aside time each day to read stories, play games, and do simple activities as a family. 
  • Get toys and materials that allow your child to explore and stimulate their problem-solving skills. 
  • An organized and consistent schedule helps children feel secure and encourages healthy exploration. 
  • Reward effort and maintain positive motivation through praise and kind words. 
  • Building a loving foundation of learning habits at home creates a strong foundation for success.

How can You Promote Play-Based Early Childhood Learning at Home?

  • By Offering a Supportive and Playful Environment at Home

You can promote play-based early childhood learning by creating an environment that supports the child's growth and development. For example, you can give your child a puzzle to assemble, talk and read to them, or take them on outings to discover new places and experiences. Providing such an environment to the child encourages lifelong learning and critical thinking skills while building valuable social, emotional, and cognitive skills in your child.

  • By Choosing Appropriate Toys and Activities 

You can stimulate your child's creative mind and help them learn by choosing age-appropriate toys and activities. Puzzles, building blocks, stuffed animals and books are some options to explore, while activities like guided play, theatre games, and art and music classes can support development in new ways.

In this way, you can foster your child's growth, nurture their creativity, and equip them with the skills they need as they grow.

  • By Structuring Playtime to Foster Learning 

Play-based early childhood learning is essential for your child's social and cognitive development. It will help if you promote a playful environment for children to foster learning. Structuring playtime to include activities such as sorting colours, counting toys, and doing creative art projects teaches children the basics of communication, language, and problem-solving skills. 

Reading books and stories with children helps develop literacy skills. Children learn to collaborate, share, and take turns with peers through playtime. Parents should also implement healthy boundaries and rules to guide their children to explore the world around them with care.

  • By Integrating Play into Everyday Routine 

You can promote play-based early childhood learning by integrating play into everyday routines. For example, you can turn cleaning up into a game by having children match colours or sorting items by shape. You can encourage role-play games during mealtime by setting out play props and assigning each child a role. 

Doing word searches or jigsaw puzzles together can help children explore ideas and develop problem-solving skills. By making play a part of daily life, you can create a learning environment that is both fun and meaningful for your child.

Parting Thoughts

Make the most of the benefits of early childhood education by introducing play-based learning activities to your child at a young age. Play encourages creativity, exploration, and collaboration. Learning through play allows kids to gain skills in communication, language development, physical development, and math and science concepts. You can start doing play-based educational activities with your child at any age. For more ideas on incorporating play into your child's daily learning experiences, explore various activity-based programmes offered by Raising Superstars.

Specially designed to help your child with honing their inborn talents and skills, Raising Superstars' prodigy programmes offer an excellent way for you to bond with your child while allowing them opportunities to excel at their super talents.

Home Programs for babies & toddlers?

Learn More