5 Ways to Encourage Learning Through Play

Kids learn while they play. It is proven to be the most effective teacher, and yet so often it seems that we remove all play from learning situations. Young children minds thrive and grow while building, creating, and experimenting. Playtime is the perfect chance to let there brains explore and think independently. Here are 5 easy ways to encourage learning through play.

I received samples and compensation for this post, all ideas and opinions are my own.

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Sorting- Have you ever given your child a box of stuff and asked them to sort it? It is truly amazing. As a teacher, it was my favorite way to see just how differently every child learns and processes information. You can give the same box of stuff to 20 kids and they will all come up with something different. Ask your child why the sorted something one way, challenge them to show you a different way they could group items.

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Sensory- Playdoh, Goo, Kenetic Sand, Water Beads, Pasta, Sand, Water, Flour, the list goes on forever. Give them something to create and experiment with. What happens if I pour water into this cup? How does this sponge work? Will this Playdoh fit through this hole? Let your child create and push boundaries and see where it gets them.

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Imagine- Playing make believe has many purposes, plus it is really fun. As your child plays they mimic the world around them, take notice of how they see things. They usually tell a story as they dress up, or race cars, or move figurines through a dollhouse. This builds vocabulary skills and helps them explore emotions and thoughts they might not feel comfortable expressing yet.

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Physical- Run, jump, fall, push pedals. Get outside or to a gym and go for it. Not only is physical activity an outlet for energy, it helps your child know how their body works. It stretches and builds muscles, coordination, motor movements. These are all skills your child needs for every day life!

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Technology- Technology is everywhere around us. It is in our homes, it is in our schools, and our kids need to know how to use it! It can be such a powerful learning tool. There are many games and apps that teach through play. Our new favorite app at our house is Curious George Train Adventures.

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Curious George Train Adventures is an educational game for iPad and iPhone that helps kids ages 4-6 develop and practice essential skills related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The game has 4 worlds- Tiki Adventures, Frosty Wonderland, Zany Meadows and Space Spectacular. In each world, players are presented with games that incorporate real STEM-related skills. They have the chance to solve challenges that involve adjusting speed, navigating obstacles and solving puzzles to raise bridges and open gates, children will learn to apply the laws of physics, scientific thinking, problem-solving, basic engineering principles and more.

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My kids have so much fun figuring out what they need to do to keep George’s train on track. I love to listen to them problem solve out loud. I love to hear their giggles when they get things wrong and there squeals of delight when they are right. Plus, I find this app so fun to play with them. I know screen time sometimes gets a bad rap, but games like these use technology to teach in a beautiful, fun, and engaging way. Curious George Train Adventures is available for purchase in the App Store.

What is your favorite way to encourage learning through play?

About Aimee

My name is Aimee and I was lucky enough to meet my perfect match at age 15. We were married 6 years later and are parents to the cutest kiddos around. Our oldest son is a cautious, but outgoing, smarty pants with a little sister who has no fear and loves to push all his buttons. They are 19 months apart. Before becoming a stay at home mom I was a second grade teacher, and I loved every minute of it. Now I spend most of my day on the floor building trains, tucking in baby dolls, reading stories, and laughing my guts out with my own kids. I love to spend time with my family, travel, read, watch movies, be outdoors, and eat!

Comments

5 Ways to Encourage Learning Through Play — 13 Comments

  1. my daughter loves playing imagination. she’s just turning 4 and she calls her little people, “my people” and the things she comes up with is great.

  2. I don’t have kids yet, but work in the field, and this info is super important for Parents to have! Thanks!

  3. This is a really well thought out list. I agree with everything, and its great that there are so many ways for kids ot learn!

  4. When my kids were little they loved these kind of activities. These are great ways for kids to learn through play.

  5. My kids always learn more when they can have fun while they learn. These are great ideas. I like to challenge my kids.

  6. These are all great ideas, and I love how you broke them down into categories. I think the best learning is done through play. When kids are having fun, they’re more open to concepts and ideas.

  7. I find when kids can imagine they really take ownership in the task at hand- we turn everything into a mini story even chores!

  8. My daughter is going to be 4 soon. She loves to play dress up and pretend she’s a princess. When she gets her daddy involved, he is the king coming to the rescue. It’s really cute watching them play like that.

  9. My son is eight years old now so I try to do stuff with his homework in a way that will be fun but yet learning. Sometimes we can do it successfully and other times not as well.

  10. Kids love to learn through play, they don’t even realize what they are absorbing. These are all great tips, thanks for sharing.