This week we are welcoming Ruth to the iFamily Mom Squad team! Ruth is sharing with us how unrestricted play time can help our kids to learn and develop creativity!
Take a look…
Play unrestricted: another way of learning
You don’t need a workbook, a teacher or a camp to keep kids learning and exploring. All you need is a little imagination and your child of course. Actually, the imagination doesn’t even have to be yours! Let your child be the creator, the inventor and the visionary. All you need are household items and let your child take care of the rest. Most of us have seen how small children can be entertained by tissue paper, cardboard boxes and bubble wrap. Believe it or not, kids can create out of almost anything. Give it a try for an afternoon. Put away all the play dough (an obsession in my home), toys, coloring books and definitely the electronic devices. Give them a bunch of random things and give them a topic or choose on their own and see where it goes. Maybe they will start a band, turn a laundry basket into a car or turn your plastic storage containers into a train.
There is no wrong answer
While they are creating, they are learning. Kids don’t need fancy toys to have fun and imagination is something often lost as we get older. The best part is that they are learning. Yes, exploration with spoons, boxes, tape, chairs, rocks, grass, and string are all things that children can learn from. You don’t need flashcards andworkbooks to boost their education. Actually, flashcards and workbooks do the opposite because they are BORING. Yes, I said it and I am a licensed teacher. Those tools don’t engage kids because children learn best through play.
So what are kids learning when they play?
They learn a lot more than we recognize. When my 3 year old turns our laundry basket into a car, she is not only developing her imagination, but she is fostering her problem solving skills. As my 6 year old is mixing food colors with water, bowls, spoons and cornstarch she is learning about simple chemistry and cooking. When all three of them are together outside in the sand box or in the yard with the sprinkler or with a pile of sticks they are developing their social skills through all their bickering over who does what, but they are learning to work together, share, problem solve and play unrestricted. By Unrestricted Play I mean that they aren’t confined by a box with directions or a game with rules. They learn best because they are developing their own rules as they go and using their mind to become great thinkers.
The truth is it really doesn’t matter what they are playing with (safe items of course), they are always learning. Offering your child many opportunities to play and create unrestricted helps their minds develop. As parents we want our kids to be successful adults, so why not encourage that way of thinking while they are young. They will most likely need those skills when they grow up!
Check out my Munchkins Page.
From iFamily to Yours,