I’m thrilled to be included in Teach Preschool‘s celebration! This is only one post in a collection of the “ABCs of Teaching Preschool”.
I don’t teach preschool, but I do teach my own preschooler as his mom. And one of the most important parts of our day is play, as it is in preschool, too.
P is for Play
If you haven’t noticed, hands on : as we grow is a lot about play.
Children at play. I really have no choice. Henry will have it no other way.
Play comes naturally to preschoolers.
Play is [and should be]the primary learning tool for preschoolers.
I believe that it is our job, as parents and teachers, to create these learning opportunities for our children through play.
What types of play are there? Not every preschooler will fall in love with every type of play. Henry is all about Outdoor Play, but isn’t as big on imaginative play. I try to always remember to go with what he’s is interested in and not to force it on him. [A very not happy moment for either of us.]
Here’s the way I break down the areas of play.
[Please remember I am only a parent, not a teacher, so I have no technical terms to describe these. This is just my view on play as a mom.]
Outdoor play offers the opportunity to exercise and learn gross motor skills.
[An Outdoor Balance Beam.]
Playing in nature offers the exploration of how the world works.
[Going on a Outdoor Nature Scavenger Hunt.]
Pretend or Imaginative Play:
Pretending can lead to some pretty amazing opportunities if you listen to your child as they play. Their imagination is so important for further exploration in their lives, even as adults.
[Lining up toys for a pretend garage sale.]
Play Based Learning:
Learning while playing is natural. Play-based learning I look at as an opportunity I created for my children to learn. All while they’re playing and having fun. [Not sitting at a desk, filling out worksheets.]
[Learning ABCs and 123s, along with animal sounds and movements through an ABC Mat Game.]
Exploring with your hands, ears, noses and mouths. Sensory activities are great for little ones to learn about some of the things we really take for granted.
[Squishing the sliminess of finger paint.]
Arts and crafts let your children create! This often hosts many of the other areas of play, being a wonderful outlet for kids!
[Creating a 'real' piece of art to hang on the wall on a hot day.]
Just let them play! Let the kids enjoy and create their own ways to play. You’ll be amazed.
Some famous quotes [found on The Strong] that help reiterate the meaning of play in a learning environment:
- “Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” – Joseph Chilton Pearce
- “Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” – Diane Ackerman
- “Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.” – Abraham Maslow
- “Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” – Fred Rogers
- “Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” – Kay Redfield Jamison
- “Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.” – O. Fred Donaldson