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Playful learning activities help achieve that!
Isn’t it such a great thing to witness, especially after they’ve been concentrating or working on it for a while? I love those “light bulb” or “ah-ha” moments!
Playful learning activities are a great way to structure an environment (including your home!) so that children have more opportunities to have “lightbulb” or “ah-ha” moments.
A playful learning activity occurs when children are doing something fun (so they probably care about it), and they’re learning something as they play.
It’s open-ended, unstructured (or loosely structured) play that can be done in a variety of ways and allows children to use their imaginations, be creative, try new things, and build upon what they already know.
“Research has shown that play activities can help young children learn many important things: how to count, how to tell a story, how to share, how to get along with others.”
Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, administrators, the education system in general, and an increasing number of educators are doing away with playful learning activities (or play-based learning) and replacing them with more structured, teacher-directed “education” time.
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While this likely stems from kindergarten being the new first grade, so preschool needs to be the new kindergarten, it doesn’t mean it’s in the best interest of our children. Pushing down skills to lower ages/levels also encourages us to buy “edutainment” type toys.
“Edutainment” blends the idea that learning (and thus, education) is a passive activity that kids need to suffer through, so if they can make it entertaining, or add some entertainment at the end, it’s not as bad. Research shows that we learn best when we’re actively involved and interested in what we’re doing, which isn’t the same as pushing buttons on a toy and making it say/do something.
Here are a few, no-prep activities to get you started:
For more information about the reasoning and research behind playful learning activities, check out this article.