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Why play has never been more important for our children

After a traumatic year of interrupted schooling, the cancelling of fun-filled social activities and lack of quality time spent with friends and loved ones, children need some welcome relief from what has been a very difficult year.  Play offers the perfect answer – not only is it great for helping kids have fun and relax but it offers the ideal opportunity to catch up on lost learning in an enjoyable and engaging way. Let’s take a look at its many benefits and how we can encourage children to make the most of playtime!

Learning through play

Play to the untrained eye can look meaningless, however there is a lot more going on than you can see.  When children are playing, they are engaged, their imagination is sparked and they are developing key foundation skills, such as fine and gross motor skills, speech and language, social and emotional skills, problem solving, creativity and more.

 

With 3 to 5 hours a day spent in online school lessons, try to mix things up and get your children engaged with hands-on activities to vary the learning experience.  Rainbow Pebbles are a great option.  They are a tactile form of open-ended learning, allowing children to get creative, practice maths skills, and even experiment with early engineering skills by using the pebbles to create carefully balanced towers.

Cooking as a play activity

Let’s pretend our family kitchen is a restaurant and start creating magic for our customers, or should I say relatives?!   Not only are we teaching our children to make delicious recipes, but we are helping them develop invaluable life skills and foster a lifelong passion for healthy, home cooked food.

Having fun in the kitchen is a great bonding experience and boosts their confidence, while also encouraging them to be independent.  It’s great for teaching our children how to concentrate and focus, it expands their vocabulary and reading skills as they learn new cooking terms and food names, and is a great introduction to early science and maths concepts.  Let’s not forget that cooking is great for developing their fine motor skills too – whether they are cracking eggs, stirring batter or helping wash-up, these are all beneficial ways to help hone these important skills.

Get moving and play!

Encourage them to get up and get physical. Whether it’s building a den in the living room, playing in the garden, or going for a bike ride, these all help with physical and mental wellbeing and are great opportunities for learning.  Edx Education’s Step-A-Forest is excellent for developing gross motor skills, teamwork, early maths and engineering skills, and more…

Use your daily exercise walks with the children as a learning opportunity and a chance to play observational games along the way.  Look at nature, explain lifecycles, look at the numbers around you and discuss what they are used for: what is a postcode used for, letterbox numbers, money, supermarkets, etc.?  Then discuss what they do and how they benefit us in everyday life.

Learning through play with Edx Education

From early childhood active play toys, to arts & crafts activities and maths and classroom guides, Edx Education’s innovative toys and essential resources provide children with a fun and engaging way to learn.

Play has endless opportunities to make learning FUN! For more ideas and inspiration, including free downloadable activities, visit Edx Education’s play blog here.

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