Parents have heard the complaints many times and even complained themselves. Children these days don't seem to get enough playtime outside. It can be tough to get kids to play without gadgets. Learning through play advocates for self-determined actions carried out by children as part of playing, allowing them to interact with the world around them for fun and, subsequently, learning. Preschool settings often use play-based learning as their primary method of teaching.
Parents have found an opportunity to expose their children to play-based learning thanks to the emergence of alternatives to traditional schools. For example, childcare software, home-based schools, micro-schools, and even nature-oriented schools.
With alternatives like these, parents can pick a curriculum that includes play-based learning to advance their children's motor skills.Find out how a child's gross motor skills can be advanced through play based learning! Click To Tweet
Components of play-based learning
Play-based learning requires a specific environment to work in. The setting is designed to make the child feel comfortable so they can participate without feeling pressured. Here is what it takes:
- The child decides – The teacher/caregiver does not determine how and what the child plays. The children have to choose what they want to do since they are more familiar with what they're capable of. They can work their way up from simple to complex games and play.
- There are no rigid structures – With class-based learning, a curriculum has to be followed. Typically, they start with the basics and work their way up. Play requires exploration, and exploration suffers under rigid structures. The exploration should not be structured to allow the children to experience the joys of discovery by themselves.
- The process is the goal – Unlike other forms of learning where there is a goal, the process of playing is what matters here. There is no correct response or an end goal.
- The kids have to have fun – Play-based learning must be enjoyable. At their happiest, children can retain more lessons, explore further, and enhance their imagination. It is why play-based learning follows no rigid structure.
The motor skills element of play-based learning
Playing naturally requires the children to be active and use their limbs and mind to explore. They have to imagine solutions for their challenges during play, and interact through collaboration and debate the best answer.
Some of the ways teachers and caregivers adopting play-based learning use to get the kids active include:
Since the children are put in an environment without a rigid structure, it allows them to find out what is new, interact with it, and learn of the dangers that come with new things. Since children tend to be curious, they check every facet of their environment.
If people think of learning as an adventure, they will remember the lessons better. Exploration involves movement, which helps the children develop their growing bodies through exercise. They are able to feel the environment with their hands and manipulate it to create new things.
While playing, children may face challenges that they have to address themselves.
This opportunity to take care of their challenges or overcome obstacles by themselves allows the children to develop an active and creative imagination and use their hands, feet, strength, or collaboration with others with the available tools to find a solution. Their motor skills develop as they tackle exciting or problematic challenges hands-on.
Math and science
Play can be educative, just as it can be fun. By allowing the children to interact with blocks (for counting) or teaching them simple scientific concepts that they can interact with hands-on, they can have fun that way too.
Manipulating blocks, carrying what they need, creating something new from the material provided, and practicing with others can help them develop their motor skills. An example would be painting, making scrapbooks, and other instruction-based tasks with a fun element that makes the children embrace learning and look forward to it.
Aside from gamifying the learning process to make it fun, so it doesn't feel like school, children can engage in games that have been played by their parents and have carried on to this day. Instead of making the learning process a game to teach something, the games themselves have a learning component.
Examples of games that help children embrace the concepts they learn and develop them further include hula hoops, matching games, building block games, puzzles, clay/playdough sculpting, skipping rope, using balls and nets, hopscotch, and more.
The antiquated forms of education that have seen young kids forced into curriculums that actively kill imagination, creativity, and the thirst for knowledge cannot continue being the status quo.
We know the benefits play-based learning has. Our constant need to associate study and success from education with spending long hours stuck in piles of books is no longer the way to go. Interested children are passionate about what they like.
Allowing them to find their way imparts important lessons early in life, fosters collaborative attitudes, encourages tolerance of others, and more. Parents who have the opportunity to give their children play-based learning foundations should take those opportunities for a significantly more impactful introduction to learning.