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May 18, 2022

Learning Through Play- What It Is and Why We Do It!

Play does not take away from “real learning”- it is real learning!

There are lots of types of play- playing with toys, imagination, movement, or  playing a game with rules and equipment- and all of them come with learning benefits!

Playing, in all its forms, expands our world for little ones. For infants, learning through play invites them into a world of sensory experiences. Feel, taste, touch, sounds and sight are all important foundations to engage while playing with toys. For toddlers and preschoolers, emotions become a part of play as they understand rules  and expand their imaginations. Through different play experiences, they begin to name what they are feeling- happy, sad, frustrated, tired, alert and more! Social interactions are also at the forefront of most types of play, and can help develop critical thinking skills. Play often gives kids a safe space to make decisions and try new things free of pressure!

The LEGO Foundation even did a scientific study on the benefits, and identified five key characteristics to maximize learning through play. When play is joyful, helps kids find meaning in what they’re doing, involves engaged and iterative thinking and is socially interactive=- that’s when the best learning is done! All five won’t necessarily happen at the same time, but they do overlap during play!

At Tierra Encantada, we dress up and play pretend, come up with games that require us to be physically and mentally active and we plan our curriculum to include a mix of traditional and playful learning. Our class sizes and ratios are also great to facilitate play with both peers and teachers! We see the value in learning through play, and practice it in our classrooms often!

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