If you've been fretting about your kids spending too much time playing, don't. There are many studies that show that play is good for your child . In fact, researchers in Canada have found that play develops neuron connections in the brain. That’s right, your child’s brain is growing and developing right as they play.
It’s needless to say that play is extremely important to your child, and the benefits of play are multi-fold, even at a young age. Play develops self-confidence, helps in skill mastery, encourages problem-solving, and even teaches your little ones intrinsic values like perseverance and discipline.
Here are four fun ways for your child to learn as they play – fun and bonding for the entire family guaranteed!
1. Building toys
Building toys are a fantastic way for children to learn as they play. Lego bricks, blocks, magnetic tiles - there're many such toys out there for you to choose from. Whatever you have at home, they all offer children a plethora of play options and teach various things. The best part? Your kids won't even realise they're learning how to problem solve, think logically or improve their motor skills while getting busy with their little hands!
2. Sensory play
Sensory play is a winner for younger children. By touching and feeling materials of different textures, they learn so much. All that scooping and pouring of coloured rice, pasta, or water beads; moulding of playdough or stretching out slime are wonderful opportunities for children to practice their gross motor skills. You can even head outdoors to parks, playgrounds or nature trails for some fuss-free sensory play with twigs, leaves and sand!
3. Pretend play
If your child loves to pretend to be a pirate, dressing up in bedsheets to go on swashbuckling adventures - try to fight the urge to tell him or her to stop. Such pretend play is extremely rich in learning opportunities. The act of creating an entire premise and bringing everything to noisy life teaches your child so many skills at once. Through role-playing, they learn how to synthesise information, cultivate social intelligence, and work out life issues that frighten them. Join them in their adventures and you'll find yourself forming closer bonds too.
4. Singing and dancing
Singing and dancing are universally enjoyed by children across cultures, and turns out it's biological. When we listen to a song and move our bodies to it, our brains release dopamine, a chemical that makes us happy. That totally explains that toothy grin your child has while bouncing to his or her favourite song! Songs are also a great way to teach abstract concepts like math, language, and other targeted topics like body parts, days of the week, and how things work. So go on, keep singing and dancing to those catchy songs on repeat and make beautiful memories while you're at it!
Not sure where to start? Families for Life offers fun resources for you to teach your child about core family values like love, care and concern, commitment, and respect, while having lots of fun singing along, colouring or reading together!