Many people (parents included) believe that play does nothing for a child’s development. They believe that playing instead of doing pen and paper work will not help the children learn anything. Children learn through playing by themselves and with other children. Play teaches them social, intellectual, and physical skills.
Socially, the children learn communication. For example, in role playing (a type of play that consists of many different roles and settings that the children choose from) the children spend most of the time communicating, trying to figure out who gets what part and where the event of the game takes place. They also learn how to share. Sharing is a big thing in social development. While a child is playing with a particular toy, another may want to play with that same toy, for example. If the child who had the toy first lets the other child play with it, they are sharing. Another social skill preschoolers learn from playing is taking turns. This one is probably the most difficult. For instance, the swing set might be full and so another child who hasn’t had a turn yet may ask if he or she could have a swing. Sometimes the swinging child doesn’t want to give up his or her swing so a teacher must come into play and tell them to take turns. Perhaps after one child swings maybe ten times, the other child gets a turn. Eventually, both children take turns on the swing without the teacher’s help.
Intellectually, the children learn math. For example, he or she may be putting the blocks away and he or she must organize them by shape and size. He or she learns to organize and learns shapes and sizes. They also learn problem solving. If Little Sally is trying to find the color green paint but can’t, she may know that mixing two colors together will make a new color. So she tries mixing different colors until she gets green. Another intellectual skill preschoolers learn through play is science. Say Mikey is playing with water and dirt. When he pours the water over the dirt, the dirt get mucky and become mud. This is called a chemical reaction.
finally, they learn physical skills. Jumping rope, swinging on the swings, climbing on the jungle gym, or even playing in the sand promotes physical development, either gross motor (large muscle) or fine motor (small muscles). Jumping rope, swinging, climbing, and running all increase a child’s gross motor skills. These muscles are the arms, legs, back, and torso. Playing with small toys, digging in the sand, and walking on toes increases fine motor skills. These muscles are the hands, feet, fingers, and toes.
You see, play is the most important part of a child’s development. It can promote social, intellectual, and physical development. So, forget about the 24/7 writing lessons and bring out the blocks and bikes!