The Power of Playing

July 7, 2015

Today on our Facebook page (feel free to “like” us!) we linked to article from NAEYC For Families titled “How to Support Children’s Approaches to Learning? Play with Them!” by Gaye Gronlund.

What caught our attention in article? This fabulous quote: “Did you know that you can help your son or daughter academically by playing with them? Play and learning go together!”

Yeah, they do! And here at Spartanburg County First Steps, we believe in the power of playing.

What seems so obvious to many early childhood experts is often lost on parents who want desperately for their child(ren) to “learn” and “be smart.” And, in turn, the idea of playing as learning is lost on many early childhood educators who need happy parents to have full classrooms. Too often, the concepts of playing and learning are put on opposite ends of a classroom spectrum, instead of side-by-side where we believe they belong.

Gronlund agrues, “ Yes, as they enter kindergarten and the elementary years, children need to have some understanding of letters and numbers. However, if they have not developed solid approaches to learning, they will not be successful in school settings.”

What’s that mean to you as a parent? Here are the highlights from the article:

If you have a toddler, encourage a sense of curiosity in your child.

  • Make comments about what s/he is doing
  • Ask questions to respond to his/her interests and ease frustration

Gronlund states this type of encouragement fosters perseverance, attention, and initiates problem solving—all pre-requisites to learning.

If you have a preschooler, encourage your child’s imagination or “abstract thinking.”

  • Support “pretend play” by pretending with your child
  • Accept “scribbles” as real writing and help when your child is mixed-up
  • Work with your child on puzzles, trying different solution strategies

Your child is not only learning how symbols stand in for other things, but s/he is developing problem solving skills and persistence as well.

Make sure to read the full article for more details and examples of playing as learning, and most importantly, make time to play with your little one today!