When it comes to shaping young minds, play is one of the most effective ways to develop language and communication skills. A good preschool will incorporate play to help children learn, ensuring that they develop into well rounded individuals. We’ve already discussed why a good preschool is necessary but did you know that there are five ways in which learning through play benefits your child during this important stage of their lives. Let’s take a closer look:
1. Developing Cognitive Skills
Children are naturally curious about the world around them, and this curiosity lends itself to learning. There are many games you can create which are not only fun for children, but stimulates their curiosity and forces them to think and make connections for themselves. It is important to ensure that these games are not too easy or too difficult for them. Easy games may cause your child to get bored and lose interest in the game, while games that are too difficult will discourage them from playing. Never push your child if they are not ready. Good games should let the children make connections with shapes and colors, and eventually move onto words and numbers. For example, a treasure hunt requiring children to find something round, or something blue will grow their cognitive abilities.
2. Developing Fine Motor Skills
We’ve all witnessed how messy meal time can be for our little ones. Fine motor skills tend to develop alongside with cognitive ability. Being able to draw, color, use spoons, and so on becomes something your child will want to do as they begin to solve more problems in their mind. Preschool gives children exposure to multiple experiences, in which different fine motor skills are needed. Whether it be art class or playing with blocks, each activity forces your child to figure out how to complete the task, and gives them practice with using new fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are essential for when your child begins to learn to write, and inevitably begins to type. In both children and adults, increased fine motor skills is directly linked to one’s ability to write.
3. Developing Gross Motor Skills
As with fine motor skills, gross motor skills develop with cognitive ability too. We’ve all seen children run up a slide, or climb on to the porch instead of using the stairs. In both cases, the child has solved the problem of how to get somewhere as fast as possible, and has begun to put their various muscles to work, to help them achieve their goal. Gross motor skills require your child to use their larger muscle groups, and play time exercises these muscles more than anything. Whether it be a game of hide and seek, kicking a ball, or even simply playing on a jungle gym, children are allowed to experience new ways to use their body. Their friends may even be able to teach them completely new skills like how to do a cartwheel, which further grows their coordination.
4. Developing Speech and Language
Speech development goes hand in hand with reading ability. Children, much like adults, find it easier to read words that they are familiar with, and know how to use while talking. Having your child exposed to a larger vocabulary, and adopting a larger vocabulary, will make learning easier for them, and will often lead to a further love of reading, which will help their ability to study later on in life. Using your child’s favorite character or story is a great way to introduce them to new words. Instead of a describing Red Riding Hood’s cape as red, you can ask your child to look at a picture and help them describe more about the hood, ask them do they think it’s a long or short cape, is it a bright red, or a dull red, and so on. Playing games with their peers allows children to speak more freely, as well as giving them the opportunity to learn new words, and their correct usage, from their friends.
5. Social Development
We chose to feature social development after speech and language, because having a better understanding on how to use language, will only help your child better express themselves when it comes to the social scene. Children tend to struggle with communicating how they feel, so it is important to enable them, letting them fully express what they are feeling and understand what they are feeling. This also grows their emotional intelligence, as well as how to properly react in social situations. Play introduces children to new social experiences and reactions they may not have experienced, such as needing to talk to their friends in order to work as a team, or to patiently wait for their turn down the slide, instead of rushing to the front.
Should you be interested in enrolling your child at our preschool, or you would like more on how to find a good preschool, please feel free to contact our friendly staff at Parkland Children’s Academy.