Play-based learning is a great way for kids to learn and develop mentally, emotionally, and physically. It allows them to explore, experiment, and learn in an engaging, fun way. Children can find joy in learning about the world through discovery over a more conventional education setting. In fact, research shows students who are exposed to playful learning practices from a young age tend to be more confident, creative, and perceptive adults.
Child care programs that center play-based learning can help children spark their imagination and critical thinking skills while adapting to a variety of environments and situations. Here are some of the top benefits of play-based learning and how daycare centers empower children through play.
How Play-Based Learning Benefits Children
Spurs Creativity & Imagination
Children are naturally curious, but creativity and imagination are skills that are learned through exploring one’s environment. Early childhood educators can nurture these important skills through age-appropriate sensory toys, materials, and activities. Students can role play, craft, and act out scenarios with their instructors and peers to learn, problem-solve, and engage their creative senses.
Hones Executive Functioning
Educators can help children employ their executive functions such as working memory, adaptable thinking, organization, and self-control by encouraging them to make their own decisions through guided play and exploration. Kids will learn how to process incoming information and generate ideas while also absorbing how to follow the structures of games and activities. Moreover, they can begin to predict patterns, notice connections, and see cause and effect based on their actions.
Improves Communication Skills
Play-based learning enables children to develop important language and communication skills. By playing games that allow them to utilize their newfound vocabulary, they begin to grasp how to communicate effectively and to listen with intention. Teachers can promote conversation-boosting activities like group role play scenarios or through active storytime to help naturally refine these skills. Students will work on how to voice their interests and needs to other children and adults when participating in these group activities.
Additionally, kids also often practice engaging in conversation and guiding a narrative when playing alone with their toys, which can better prepare them for conversations with peers and adults.
Sharpens Motor Skills
Because play time often involves physical activity, play-based learning activities help to refine gross and fine motor skills. It can also help children become more aware of their body in terms of balance and hand-eye coordination. Gross motor skills involve using the larger muscles in your body, which is necessary for activities like running, jumping, and climbing. Fine motor skills, on the other hand, involve using the small muscles in your hands and fingers. These muscles are needed for activities like writing, drawing, and playing with small toys and items.
Hands-on experiences and activities such as arts and crafts, cooking, handling natural materials, and building structures are great ways for young children to build these skills.
Strengthens Social-Emotional Skills
Play-based learning teaches children to communicate their interests and needs and to work through their feelings in a healthy, productive way. When playing, kids learn how to communicate, listen, and cooperate. They also learn to develop empathy, which helps them to understand the world around them. Childcare centers encourage early socialization by teaching children to share, resolve conflict, appreciate diverse backgrounds, and to empathize with others through guided activities. As a result, children will have a greater sense of confidence and comfort in social situations.
If you’re searching for a high-quality daycare center in PA, turn to Ducklings Early Learning Center. Children can look forward to fun, themed enrichment activities, outdoor play, and socialization with their peers. Families can rest assured that students are engaged in an age-appropriate daycare curriculum in a safe, compassionate environment. For more information on specific daycare center locations, visit our website today.