The idea of children learning by playing may seem outrageous to some parents and educational institutions, which firmly believe that learning is all about getting good grades in school. Here, we talk about how the focus of learning goes beyond grades, and how kids can be taught some of the most complex concepts simply by playing and engaging in some activities.
The concept of learning by playing is not new. In fact, for ages, children have been taught highly complex concepts by means of games and activities - concepts that they wouldn't have otherwise grasped. Such games and activities enhance personal learning and development that no book can provide. It is true that a school provides education, but knowledge is subjective and can be increased and improved by means of some very simple methods such as playing games. There are so many things that you have your kids do, without realizing the kind of message it is imparting to them, or the kind of effect it has on their minds. Playing particularly has a positive effect on kids and helps develop their personality and skills.
What Children Learn By Playing
Instead of having kids cram information and simply talking to them about various concepts, parents, along with several educational institutions, are adopting the art of teaching by playing with children. This, they believe, is a better way of inculcating not only concepts but also essential values, particularly in the most formative stages of a child's life. It is human nature to learn by experience, rather than when told or explained by someone else. Children should be allowed to learn from the consequences of their actions, and then realize why they were or weren't asked to do something. With parent and teacher participation and involvement, for children, learning can be made fun rather than a mundane, stressful task that emphasizes only on cramming as much information as possible.
A lot of concepts that education cannot impart are taught by the simple act of engaging in various indoor and outdoor activities. Here's what kids learn when they engage in such activities:
By being allowed to play, children are free to explore their surroundings and develop experiences that are unique to them.
They learn to take control and are capable of making their own decisions.
They learn to respect rules and the choice of others around them.
Children learn how to use their imagination in play and this helps develop creativity. The use of imagination also helps them shut out unpleasantness and tackle inherent fears.
Free play allows kids to indulge and appease their inquisitiveness.
Interactions with others help develop communication skills and aid personality development.
The involvement of parents in the entire process helps strengthen the bond between the child and parent, as children learn how to share their experiences with their parents. Examples of How Children Learn by Playing
Why are kids taught mathematics on the Abacus before they are taught it in the classroom? It is because the abacus lays a strong foundation upon which the subject revolves. The basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are all taught on this colorful tool, where kids learn how these concepts work by manually moving the beads. This makes it a playful activity that allows learning by playing.
Board games such as Monopoly teach children how to use money wisely at a young age. It teaches them how to carry out transactions, and how to make decisions for themselves. Games such as Scrabble help children strategize and score more points by placing appropriate letters in the right spots.
In the digital age, a lot of educational computer games and video games have been designed to teach children basic concepts such as strategy, the importance of teamwork, along with enhancing focus and concentration. Some schools in the US have started allowing kids to design video games that help them learn in the process of designing.
In the classroom, children are also taught the power of healthy communication, of group effort, and the benefits of team building. It teaches children not only to function as a group, but to lead and manage large groups of people, thereby helping them develop leadership skills.
Similar is the case with outdoor games and activities. Being the captain of a football team teaches a child how to lead, manage and achieve goals by means of the aforementioned concepts. In activities like camping, children are taught the importance of nature, and the value of having the comfort of a home and a bed, when they are roughing it up outdoors. Encouraging Learning by Playing
In order to encourage learning by playing, it is important that kids be allowed to learn in their own way. There is a difference between guiding and pressurizing, and as a parent/teacher, you ought to know where to draw the line. Here are some guidelines that will help you aid learning through the process of playing.
The activities and games introduced to children should be age-appropriate.
The activity that kids are allowed should be divided into structured and unstructured play. This means, say for 30 minutes, an adult should be guiding kids in their activities, and for another 30 minutes, the child should be allowed to do what he pleases, i.e. free play.
Schools should allot specific periods for children to free play and engage in teacher-led activities. This can be a time for structured play, during which they can enhance communication and other skills.
They should be allowed to be in control of the situation, even during structured play. This helps them develop their own methods of working on different activities.
A child should be allowed to indulge in play for as long as he wants to, and should not be forced to sit through a period of play just because it has been allotted. What is meant to be a fun activity to aid learning should not get frustrating for the child. All in all, this idea of enabling children to learn by playing can be implemented in different manners. Not all children take to a particular activity and may have other ways of imbibing knowledge and wisdom. Yet, this is a very effective way of laying a strong foundation of concepts that are not taught by books to children. There is a lot for children to learn in life, and though not everything, playing with children and teaching them in the process will be highly beneficial to all of them.