Table of Contents
Importance of Learning 3
Children Learn Critical Skills and Develop as They Play 4
Play is an Essential Strategy for Learning and Teaching 5
Learning and Development through Play 5
Benefits of Learning through Play 6
Play with Objects 7
Object Play or Pretend Play and Language 8
Development of Spatial Abilities 8
Playing Chess 9
Play Video Games 10
Solve Puzzles 11
The development of children both mentally and physically plays participate a significant role. It is worthwhile to know that how much the development of the brain takes place during playing a variety of games and it is known to be the best medium through which children can learn everything . Scientific research over the past three decades shows that the most important stage of human development happens during the first decades of life. The early 10 years of human life is the period during which a strong foundation of habits and skills, such as cognitive skills, substantial physical and mental health, behaviours and emotions which are required to handle the social interactions, developed which are important for success well in the adult life (Whitebread et al., 2012 ). In the life of a child, play utilises their creativity which developed their imagination along with the formation of their physique which helps them to build a strong mind that can help them to strengthen their emotions and overall activates related to their behaviour .
It is a famous proverb that for a strong and healthy mind it is important to have a strong and healthy body and a healthy body is hidden in the daily activities of children/persons. Apart from these benefits play also helps children to develop their skills of language as during playing they constantly expose to a wide variety of new things and activities which help them to build and enhance their vocabulary. Children while engaged in playing encounter different challenges and problems either with their siblings or friends. These may be in the form of conflict or solving different tricky/mind games, play provides ways and methods to resolve these issues, by developing decision-making skills, and over time this develops a sense in them that help them to handle different issues skilfully (Irvine al., 2017).
Importance of Learning
According to Vu et al. (2015), learning is a most crucial tool that nourishes the human brain and pacifies their soul as it assists in enhancing the capabilities which increase the understandings and helps in handling things skilfully and more finely. It is a continuous process that helps to develop an open door for future opportunities by motivating them to gain skills, education, abilities, and by building self-confidence. Although learning is a continuous process that persists for whole life the pace of early childhood learning never be equalised with any other stage of life as a common saying shows that childhood learning is like something curve on stone . After birth, the child starts learning from the surroundings and over time with development gets influence directly or indirectly by the environment especially from parents or other family members. For the development of a sound mind, it is important to provide such an environment that encourages them to learn things that have a positive impact on their behaviour and emotions (Avornyo et al., 2018). It was argued by da Silva et al., (2018) that there are two basic processes of play which include assimilation in which the real-world centred aspect is amalgamated within the phenomenon of the previously structured understanding and the other one is accommodation in which in response to the element of the new environment, the previous construction is modified. It has been criticised that cognitive advancement has been led by these two fundamental processes. However, Prioreschi et al., (2020) argued that the process of accommodation and assimilation are not considered to be in equilibrium. Despite the fact, to some extent, both elements are included in the play. Therefore, it is not easy to grade or rank any one process over another.
Children Learn Critical Skills and Develop as They Play
Play is often considered as a full-body activity for children that support them to gain essential skills, habits, and knowledge that is required to obtain opportunities during their adult life. I t is not merely considered as fun the real and deep meanings of the play lies behind the playful activities. Scholars of children’s education and behaviours thought that play is the basic requirement of childhood as it can fortify the instinct that assists children to prepare skills that enable them to learn about things they will require for the future (Avornyo et al., 2018). It was further argued by Schmitt et al., (2018) that all activities which are performed during play help children strengthen their muscle development and help to fine-tune their motor skills, these skills ultimately stimulate the development of their mental and emotional muscles which in turn help them to develop a consistent behaviour and habit that are helpful for the constructive development of their life and also help them to play a positive role in the society. Play helps children to coup negative feelings caused by disturbing events and replace them with positive ones. Through play, children come to understand negative outcomes and painful events and will able to fetch ways that lead them towards pleasurable feelings and also help them to coup the worse situation (Vu et al., 2015).
Playing and involving in various activities also help children to try and develop new social skills for example by sharing toys and consenting with their siblings and friends on working together with the same things (Edwards et al., 2011). They by doing so can build an ability that enables them when to negotiate and when to compromise when there is the involvement of consensus of two or more people . Play helps the children to develop better speaking and pre-reading habits by visualising and verbalising with a variety of people and things and their talking, which help them to build a word bank of new and unique words which their brain interprets what it sees and hears and mixed afterward to form sound in a meaningful way (Avornyo et al ., 2017). However, the notion of learning through play has been criticised by Polinsky et al. (2021) as it is believed by him that learning enables the children to take more interest in playing rather than learning or enhancing their skills. Thus, he assumed that playing has no relation with the development of new or creative skills. On the contrary, Edwards et al. (2011) demonstrated that through playing children can learn new things such as numbering, new words, names of objects, colours, and much more.
Play is an Essential Strategy for Learning and Teaching
Children learn well and can give maximum educational productivity when they are mentally active, involved in productive and positive social activities which help them to build a meaningful connection to their lives, and all these are characteristics that can be obtained through play. A study of Neuroscientists has revealed that play activates the human brain in such a way that is more productive and meaningful than normal classroom activities like testing, memorising and worksheet, etc. children from their early day start interacting with and building a relationship with their surrounding and these interactions are with their parents, siblings, neighbours, teachers and all other things in their environment. These interactions and relations play a vital role in their understanding and the formation of their viewpoint about the world surrounds them. Play is considered as a vehicle through which children gain knowledge and skills, to gain a maximum outputs parents, teacher and other adults must play their part by making meaningful planning that not only helps children learn maximum skills but also help them to focus on their goal/education by removing all distractions and negative thought in their mind (Edwards et al., 2011).
Learning and Development through Play
One of the main ways in which the children learn and develop is considered to play as playing highly assist children in learning and development. Learning and development by playing help children to build their self-worth by sensing their capabilities and feeling good about themselves. For the development of the child, play is considered to be essential as it is an integral part of the early year foundation stage of the child and it also supports the learning journey of the children (Schmitt et al., 2018).
A lot of different skills can be developed by children with the help of the power of play. The skills that can be developed by the children through play include language skills, creativity, emotions along with social skills as well. The imagination among the children can be nurtured along with the development of the sense of adventure can be developed with the help of play. In addition to this, essential skills, for instance, problem-solving, sharing, working along with others and much more can be developed by the children through play (Zosh et al., 2017). It is really essential that learning must be fun at this stage. The children should be given an opportunity for experiencing different things in order to learn new things however, they might find strange ways for performing tasks. It has also been identified that children intimate their parents and companions so it is really essential for them to play those games that help children learn and develop new skills (Hoskins et al., 2019).
Benefits of Learning through Play
It has been determined by the research that the significant part in the development of the child is learning through play. Many different skills are learned by the children by playing with educational toys. The opportunity for the development of the speech and language skills along with listening skills are allowed by the play as when the children play they talk and listen whether they are playing alone or with their companion, in order to add purpose to their play children communicate. The children are able to expose to a large variety of the vocabulary on a daily basis that is incorporated in the play. In this way, the children are encouraged by the play to communicate effectively (Vogt et al., 2018).
Learning through play helps the children in improving their cognitive development as the children who are involved in pretend play are found to have more sophisticated levels of communication with other people. It was found by the studies that there is a lot of evidence that determines the connection between high-quality pretend play and cognitive ability (Schmitt et al., 2018).
Learning through plays also encourages the children to develop the skills of relationship building. The development of social skills is promoted by learning through play. The children who play with their parents and peers learn through their play that how relationships work (Parker and Thomsen, 2019).
Many people do not focus on that for the development of language skills, social skills play a vital role in the life of the children. Language is more than spoken words. Learning through play also enables the children to develop their skills of creativity and imagination as creating new ideas for playing whether they are playing alone or with their friends. It also assists them in resolving conflicts, compromising along with sharing. Learning through play also enables the children to develop fine and gross motor skills as well (Yogman et al., 2018).
In addition to this, it has been identified by the research that the children who tend to play with their father had a greater level of ability of imagination and cognitive ability as compared to those who did not play with their father (Kjoberg, 2020). The children who played with their parents tend to participate in several activities, they had good mental health, stronger friendships along a stronger family bond were experienced by those children as compared to the children who did not play with their parents (Riede et al., 2021).
Play with Objects
The playful use of objects is referred to as play with objects which may involve jigsaw puzzles, the building of blocks, dolls, cars, etc. For young children play with an object is considered to be really essential. It is really essential for children to focus their attention on the relevant play material for playing with the objects. Sometimes play with the object also involves pretending play such as building a house, or feeding a doll (Lee et al., 2019). The children who play with objects are allowed to try new combinations of actions that are free from external constraints along with that it also assists them in the development of the skills of problem-solving. The benefits of the object play are required to be balanced with regards to instructions, keeping the age of the children in mind along with the nature of the task. It should also be focused that whether the learning is for particular skills or the development of the creative attitude or a more general inquisitive. The parents should motivate their children to focus their attention on exploring the manipulating the objects that can be used to play (Kızıldere et al., 2020).
It has been identified that the children who play with the objects tend to have the capabilities of focusing more. For instance, an infant highly focuses on the object by looking at it and manipulate it in a thoughtful manner (Parker and Thomsen, 2019). For obtaining the different visual perspectives, the infant may turn the object around and then finger the texture of the objects or move the object around the mouth if the information obtained by him is of his interest. Young children who play with objects possess the skills of creative thinking as well (Gibson et al., 2020).
Object Play or Pretend Play and Language
Object play or pretend play and language are considered to be highly related to each other as both rely on the capacity of representation, namely, employment of one element as a signifier for representing another element. In pretend or object play, the situations are created or performed in a way that does not exist in reality while the internal meanings that are associated with the events that occurred in the real world are represented by the vocal symbol (a word) (Hà, 2020). Moreover, a similar developmental architecture is shared by both the behaviours of pretend play and language as well, they progress from the most basic form to the most advanced form. The evidence for the transition from the basic to advance form is obtained and identified by the increase in the number of units that are represented that can be combined by an infant for developing the symbolic act that is coherent. Similarly, the language begins with the basic form as the language begins with babbling which means the vocalisation consisting of syllable repetition (Lin et al., 2017).
In the early development of language which is perceived as the major milestone which it typically emerged in infants before their ability to talk, usually before the age of 10 months. The development of the continuation of babbling is considered to be speech. The development of language is the process by which the skills of language or learning a language are acquired by the children (Quinn et al., 2018). There can be two main categories of language which include receptive and expressive. The ability of the children for understanding the interaction among other people which include spoken words, gestures along with written words are referred to as receptive while the ability of the children to express themselves with the help of gestures or speech, etc. is referred to as expressive (Winter et al., 2018).
Development of Spatial Abilities
The ability to understand, reason, and remember the spatial relations between objects and space is termed as spatial ability (Whitebread et al., 2012). The spatial skills are considered to be really essential for perceiving the visual information within the environment for representing it internally and associating it with the previous experiences for determining the meanings and understanding along with performing the transformations and manipulations on those perceptions (Zorn and Gericke, 2020). Some of the activities for the purpose of the development of spatial abilities are given below:
Figure 1 Playing Chess
Source: (Stock Photo, 2021)
When playing chess, thinking of a few steps ahead is a really good strategy. Therefore, it is really essential to visualise everything and on the board without moving the pieces of chess. It takes a lot of practice for developing and retaining spatial combinations in the mind at once, however, it is considered to be a great skill when the individual is required to compare serval actions (Polinsky et al., 2021).
Play Video Games
Figure 2 Play Video Games
Source: (Carolyn Pairitz Morris, 2021)
One of the most primary examples for developing the children’s spatial ability is navigating through video or computer games. It helps the children in enhancing their memory which highly assists the children in the future. The spatial abilities of children are also enhanced by playing video games as they improve the ability of the children to pay attention and concentration on anything (Cornu et al., 2018).
Figure 3 Solving Puzzles
Source: (Mrunal, 2021)
Another way for enhancing or developing spatial abilities is solving a puzzle . There are different types of puzzles which include crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, logic puzzles, etc. that assist the children in the development of their spatial skills. It will help the children in improving their scores of intelligence quotient (IQ) along with that it also increases the concentration level, knowledge, problem-solving, cognitive skills, and memory of the children (Braun et al., 2017).
In conclusion, learning plays an important in the development of children and for the purpose of learning and teaching, the strategy of play is considered to be vital as playing highly assist children in learning and development. The children are able to develop self-worth by sensing their capabilities and having good vibes about them by learning and developing through play. It is also summarised that the learning journey of the children is supported by play. The power of play helps the children to develop various skills. Learning through play helps children in nurturing their imagination along with developing a sense of adventure. It is also concluded that problem-solving, sharing, working along with others and much more can be developed by the children through play. Children are able to explore a wide variety of vocabulary along with learning through play allows the children to develop their skills of speech and languages as well due to which the individuals can communicate within the society effectively. It is also concluded that the children who play with objects have the ability to try new combinations of actions that are considered to be free from external constraints. Learning through play can also enable a child to learn the skills of language which will assist them in communication in order to express themselves. Some of the ways by which the spatial abilities of the children can be improved include playing chess or video games, solving puzzles, and many more.
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