Unlike what most parents believe, the best learning happens during play time much more than through lessons or classes.
Babies learn about and interact with their environment during play time. Their ability to love and trust are created through interactions with others. When children are playing, they are learning.
While playing, a child’s brain takes in information using all five senses (sound, sight, touch, taste, and smell). These stimulate the brain and create the foundation for future learning and development.
Researchers have identified at least six different types of play. Engaging in all of types is healthy and there are opportunities for all of them in the daily life.
1. Independent play: While playing alone, your child learns to concentrate, think, come up with creative ideas, and regulate emotions.
2. Parallel Play: involves children playing alongside but without much interaction, but the children are often playing with the same toys and engaged in a similar activity. Parallel play teaches observation skills, how to get along with others, as well as ways to work independently.
3. Cooperative Play: is a more organized and the child plays as part of a larger group that has a collective goal (making an art project / putting on a skit). During cooperative play, the role of leader and follower are often visible.
4. Skill Mastery Play: occurs when a child is learning to do something new. Often, she uses trial and error to repeat the same skill over and over. (learning to throw a ball, ride a bike, swim, or swing independently).
5. Sensory Motor Play: occurs when children use their five senses and their motor skills (playing with sand, mud, water or clay).
6. Tumble Play: is when children engage in activities with intensity and energy (tag, tackle). Dads are often more likely to engage in rough and tumble play.
Children learn by repeating the same activity again and again. Unlike what most parents believe, the best learning happens during play much more than through lessons or classes. The best way is to let the child make the rules and play along. The best way to teach a new skill is to show your child how something works, then step back and give them a chance to try.
Most importantly, child proof the area and allow your child to play freely.