When adults see children engaged in play it can be hard for them to see the educational value it provides. However, play can offer some of the most effective learning opportunities for a child. Play is important for developing a child as a whole. It promotes healthy brain development, allows children the chance to internalise what they have learnt, make connections to real life, and develop new skills. Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, cognitive and physical abilities.
In EYFS the children work towards learning goals in 7 key areas of development; Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language, Physical Development, Literacy, Maths, Expressive Arts, and Understanding the World. When a child is completing a set task given by an adult, they will most likely develop one or two of these learning goals. Whereas if a child is involved in play they are actively engaged in all areas of development. Think about when a child uses their imagination and pretends they work in a café, there are numerous skills they can develop and consolidate, taking turns, communication and language, building friendships, writing, using money, and solving addition and subtraction problems.
To support your child during play you should always follow your child’s interests and not force a specific game or activity. Try not to overstimulate your child with too many toys, if needed take some away and just leave out a few for them to choose from. Provide toys that offer open-ended play and can be used for multiple purposes like building blocks, crayons, paper, small world animals, and role-play toys. Try creating your own Doctors Surgery, Café, or even a Vets clinic.
So during this summer holiday, put down that work booklet or test paper, grab some toys, and have fun playing. Help your child be the best they can be.
Have a fantastic playful summer holiday!
Ms K McDermid