PENN STATE EXTENSION extension.psu.edu
"All they do is play all day." "Don't they ever learn anything?"
Did you ever hear these comments from parents? To an adult, it does look like children are just playing all day.
Play has a very different meaning to children. To a child, play is learning. Play is not something children do when they don't have anything better to keep busy.
Children are interested in things around them. Set out a new toy and watch a young child explore it. She carefully looks at it, feels it, shakes it, puts it in her mouth, tries to take it apart, sits on it, steps on it....This child is learning about the toy and herself as she plays and explores.
LEARNING SKILLS TAKES TIME
A child doesn't learn to walk overnight. He takes small steps at first. Then moves on to walking. Learning other skills happens over time too. Did you know that building with blocks, putting puzzles together, and scribbling on paper help children learn to write? There are a lot of little steps before real writing begins.
A lot of parents today are very concerned with wanting their children to read and write at an early age. What they don't understand are the steps that children must take to get to the point where they can read and write. Teaching pre-school children to read and write by using flash cards and worksheets is not a good way for them to learn. Thes steps are best done in a child's own way, through play.
HERE ARE SOME WAYS CHILDREN LEARN AND GROW THROUGH PLAY:
Blocks lead to Math and Writing Skills
Pop-Up Toys lead to Thinking Skills
Puzzles lead to Reading and Writing Skills
Beads to string leads to Writing Skills
Paint lead to Science Skills
Pens, pencils, markers and crayons lead to Writing Skills
Water play lead to Math and Science Skills
Wet and dry sand lead to Science Skills
Dress-up clothers, pretend play lead to Using the imagination; Problem Solving Skills
Clay leads to Writing Skills, Problem Solving Skills
(Penn State University)