If we ask children what they enjoy doing, play would be their definite answer. However, due to high expectations from an academically driven society, play experiences have been neglected. There is also a lack of emphasis on children’s engagement in purposeful learning experiences.
Play isn’t a waste of time; it creates a window of opportunities for learning beyond the walls of the classroom. Here are ideas how we can kick start meaningful play for our children.
Once upon a time…
Technology offers a variety of developmentally appropriate interactive media experiences. Digital stories are a great alternative to storybooks and also encourage the love of reading. Create digital stories with your child by capturing everyday life moments with captions and narrations. This creates chances for you to monitor your child’s learning progress and development.
Try these apps: StoryKit, Book Writer One, Adobe Voice and Book Creator Free
Let nature be their playmate
Do not underestimate the value of outdoor experiences. Outdoor play allows children to interact with the natural environment and provides opportunities for holistic development. Nature walks allow them to use all their senses – encourage them to walk barefoot on the grass, observe the insects on the ground or smell the leaves and flowers. Our natural world offers beautiful sights, sounds, and textures, making it an ideal resource for the development of aesthetics for children.
Singapore offers many possibilities of fun for children in the outdoors. Drop by the Children’s Garden at Gardens by the Bay for a fun-filled family day with interactive play elements against a lush natural setting. The Garden is a big playground set up to enhance your child’s physical and cognitive development through sensory play features.
Here are parks to bring your kids in Singapore.
Stock up on blocks
Block play can create multiple learning opportunities for children that are purposeful and fun. There is so much flexibility and creativity involved in block play. You can recreate building structures that you and your child saw, show them famous monuments and architecture around the world, or simply let their imagination take flight. You can even use materials that are open-ended, accessible and low-cost.
- Using recyclables Think plastic containers, cloth scraps, cardboard boxes and tubes. Your child can add on all kinds of ‘construction materials’ to their existing block structures
- Paper and writing materials Provide your child with writing materials (e.g. crayons, markers) and paper; to add signs or more intricate designs to their structures.
See also: Different Stages Of Play
More than just pretend
Remember those recyclables used for your block play? They are also great to use during dramatic play. The real value of dramatic play is that it increases children’s understanding of the world they live in. In the process of dramatic play, they are encouraged to use their imagination, communicate, share their ideas and solve problems. This helps them develop personal skills that will nurture them to become successful learners in life.
By Gan Hui Ning, Nicolette Abigail Yeo Wei Ling & Priscilla Tan Yan Ying
This was first published in The New Age Parents e-magazine