Play-based learning can seem challenging, but it’s certainly not impossible! Here are my top 10 ways to facilitate play-based learning at home to help your child grow.
Play-based learning is SO important for kids — of all ages! It teaches them creativity, motivation, initiative, and skills that they may not get in a traditional classroom setting. It helps them create social skills and leadership, giving them a chance to take charge in a setting that inspires them.
Doing so at home can seem challenging, but it’s certainly not impossible! Here are my top 10 ways to facilitate play-based learning at home to help your child grow.
1) Give them an environment where play-based learning can thrive.
While school tends to be more structured, play-based learning thrives in a creative environment at home. At school, a child is taught to sit in a chair and learn. However, with play-based learning, the environment should reflect their specific needs. Whether it’s an open space in your home filled with toys or a fun outside setup in the yard, the space they play in should be one that fosters imagination!
2) Make time in the day for play-based learning with your child.
Play-based learning should be consistent. You should always seek the chance to incorporate learning into your play — whether it be the activities you do or the movies/videos you show them. Making time in the day for your child to have creative control and play is the key to fostering meaningful play-based learning.
3) Play-based learning should be child-led and open-ended.
Let your child be in control during play. To build their leadership skills, your little one should be able to guide you in the activity. You can suggest ideas to them if they seem unsure of what to do next, but ultimately, it should be their decisions that direct the course of play.
4) Engage with your child as they play with new ideas.
While it’s extremely important to let your child take control, you should supervise them. Watch them as they play and join in on their activity! Whether it’s making figures out of Play-Doh or drawing stick figures, you should be with them to encourage their curiosity. Ask them questions about the colors, numbers, or different features of what they’re playing with. Whatever you can do to get their brain going will be beneficial to their cognitive function!
5) Have your child play with other children to encourage social skills and cooperation.
Make a playdate for your little one with the neighborhood kids, or their classmates during recess, to promote play-based learning! These recreational ideas, whether it’s a game of basketball or hopscotch, will help promote sociability and leadership — two very important skills for kids.
6) Any moment can include play-based learning.
Sometimes, you don’t have to regulate play-based learning. It can happen naturally. I was with my best friend’s two-year-old daughter playing ballerina. I demonstrated how to lift my heels up and down, asking, “Can you do up/down?” Together, we lifted up and down on our heels, saying, “Up, down,” with each one. It was a teaching moment that incorporated play-based learning!
7) Encouragement and emphasizing creative thinking.
As I encouraged my friend’s daughter, she was able to follow my words as she played. This helped her perform the task, empowering her cognition and motor skills. Use your words as encouragement and emphasize specific details or ask questions to spur your child’s thoughts.
8) Incorporate play-based learning through imaginative playtime.
Reading age-appropriate books, coloring, playing games, or solving a puzzle can help facilitate play-based learning. You can ask them to point out specific colors or how to blend those colors, such as red and blue to make purple.
9) New activities are a must.
Don’t be stagnant with your child. Present them with new activities and let them figure it out. They will wrap their heads around something new, sparking their curiosity. In a group setting, a new activity like playing soccer gives everyone a chance to work together towards winning the game.
10) Children are sponges – make every moment count!
Enjoyable activities prompt thinking out of the box! Your child will be able to cultivate their critical and creative thinking skills through play-based learning. They are constantly learning, and through play-based learning, they are motivated to seek new opportunities and solutions.