Reasons why Play is Important in Early Childhood Education

While many people think of early childhood education as having to do with flashcards pertaining to matching colors, numbers and the alphabet; many times children can learn more from playtime than actual flashcard work. Different categories of playtime can help teach crucial early childhood skills that can help facilitate learning in the future.

Coloring

While coloring books and simple doodling can seem like a great playtime activity for your little one, the activity is much more than just wasted time. Helping your toddler to hold a crayon properly can help to work their fine motor skills. You can help your child to learn their colors by verbal cues during your coloring activity. For instance, you can motivate your toddler to use his/her words by asking, “What color do you want?” Try opting for a coloring book that alternates pictures with letters or numbers. There are quite a few preschool learning coloring books that help to facilitate learning while engaging in a coloring activity.

Play-Doh

Play-Doh isn’t often the first toy that is thought of when seeking out a learning toy. However, it can be a great way to build up hand strength in your toddler. Building a toddler’s hand strength can translate into better fine motor skills, ease in using a utensil and even articulation in grasping. Play-Doh products come in a wide array of colors to help your toddler learn their different colors and they also come in a number of different packs. Whether your child is interested in dinosaurs, cars or butterflies; there are Play-Doh molds that can adhere to the preference of any child.

Puzzles

While not all puzzles can be appropriate for toddlers, choosing the right age appropriate puzzle can be a great playtime activity for your child. Make sure to choose a puzzle that has pieces large enough for your child to maneuver and turn with ease. Assembling a puzzle will help your child to learn special orientation, problem solving and shapes. You can also step it up a notch by choosing puzzles that incorporate the alphabet or numbers.

Matching

There are a number of playtime activities that include matching items. A popular choice is an extra large sticker activity book geared towards toddlers. This allows your child to perform different matching activities through stickers. Whether it’s placing the matching sticker on the appropriate character or recreating a scene through its sticker counterparts. This can be a great way to teach problem solving, hand articulation and fine motor skills. Matching can also be found in memory games, whether it’s the classic board game or through a free app on your phone. Try choosing a theme that your child is interested in and give verbal cues like, “Where’s the other yellow fish.”

Playtime should be a fun activity for you and your child but it can also be a great opportunity for learning. Whether you’re throwing around the ball and trying to encourage hand-eye-coordination or just inviting another child over for a playdate to encourage socialization, this is a great way to encourage learning in your child that will translate for an easier transition to furthered formal education.