Kids Play: 5 Things Every Parent Needs to Know
How much technology is too much technology? Here are 5 things every parent needs to know about kids play.
Being a parent means juggling. Daycare, full-time work, family time, multiple children. Thank goodness for the iPad or how would we get it all done? But, could the too good to be true technological wonder you've placed in your child's hands actually be hurting their development?
According to the latest research, in a word, yes. Even while using educational apps and programming, screens can hurt your child's chances of developing a rich sense of communication and an understanding of the world around them.
Why could this be so bad for our kids? Children, especially infants and toddlers, learn from their environment. Kids play to learn. Playing with toys, playing with their parents and caretakers, and exploring their surroundings are the ways children learn what they need to know to be successful adults.
The problem with screens is that they draw children into them and they tend to ignore the environment around them. They are missing out on the conversations around them, social cues, interacting directly with the human beings they should be learning from. How can we avoid this? Encourage more play and less screen time!
Why Kids Play and How to Help Them Do It: 5 Things Every Parent Should Know
Kids Learn From Play
Kids don't want to play all the time just because they don't want to work. They are hardwired to want to play. Through play, they learn so much about the world.
During storytime, they get discussion and quality time observing their parents. They learn facial gestures, language skills, intonation, and how to tell stories.
When kids play blocks they aren't only developing their imagination and practicing fine motor skills. They are also learning higher level concepts like how objects affect one another (a big block cannot be supported by a tiny one), basic math through counting and lining blocks up in decreasing lines.
The benefits go on and on. Kids play should be encouraged throughout every activity in your schedule.
Early Academics Shouldn't Replace Playtime
The shift in recent years has been very academically minded pre-school settings and the elimination of recess programs all over the country. The earlier they start the formal learning the bigger head start they get right?
New studies are saying the opposite is true. Schools that encourage young kids play in the classroom see higher grades in the later grades.
Let Kids Play Creatively
All this play doesn't have to be expensive. Encourage children to play with whatever odds and ends you can put together. If you can fill your yard up with random creative parts and pieces even better. Let them play outside and don't put limits on their imaginations.
Make big blocks out of cut down pieces of cheap lumber (sanded of course), let kids play with pine cones, let kids collect bugs and dig in the dirt. Cut up dollar store pool noodles to use as kids play construction tools.
For younger kids, who won't just put anything in their mouths anymore, sensory play is an amazing way to get your kids thinking about differences in texture and how things work.
Fill a large plastic storage bin with rice, beans, plastic beads, and other small similar objects so the bottom is covered. Put your toddler in their with some cups and watch the pouring, feeling, creative play run wild.
Use a cheap inflatable kiddie pool in the yard and play games of will it sink or float with older kids. With younger ones, use things like colanders, plastic containers, and cups to play with the water.
Don't Push Reading Too Soon
Surprisingly, trying to get kids to read super early actually doesn't have any benefit. In fact, in some studies, it has been shown that learning to read later than 5 actually benefits reading comprehension in the long run.
Let Kids Be Kids
Here in our go-go-go society, we sometimes forget that our kids aren't just little adults. We try and rush them into learning complex information in the way we think best.
Take a step back and let your kids be kids. Find a great educational play space in your neighborhood. Set up more play spaces in your home and keep the library for story time. Encourage more imagination and outdoor adventures. Ask your kids more questions and give fewer lectures.
Play helps amazing kids be even more incredible. Help them become their very best.
Want to set up some time to play with us or have questions about the awesome toys we have? Contact us anytime and we are happy to help.
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