The ABC’s of Learning Through Play P-T

ABC's of Learning Through Play

P is for Piaget

Jean Piaget is a famous child development theorist. His theory basically says that children don’t necessarily need adult intervention to learn; they have an innate desire to learn about their environment and do so by a process he calls assimilation and accommodation. He believes that there are 3 types of stages of play. The first is called functional play and occurs between ages 0-2. Functional play is something like filling and dumping things out of a bucket. The next stage is called symbolic play and is seen from 2 and on. During this stage children start to play “pretend”, which is also called dramatic play. They also engage in constructive play which is when they use materials to builds things like with blocks and Legos. Third stage is games with rules which is seen in school-aged children. Piaget believed that play was THE most important part of childhood.

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Q is for Questions

Play allows children to ask questions about their world and to perform mini “experiments”. Facilitate these experiences because they are so beneficial. You can do this by setting up an activity such DIY Lava Lamps or Discovery Bottles. You can also be on the look-out for natural everyday experiences that could be turned into an opportunity to ask questions and see the answers. When talking to your children during play ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions allow children to think creatively about things, practice expression, and problem-solve. To know whether or not your questions are open-ended, follow these simple rules: most open-ended questions begin with  “who”, “what”, “where” or “why”; questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” are not open-ended questions.


R is for Reading

We all know how beneficial reading with, and to, your kids is. However, you can enhance the learning and increase vocabulary and comprehension by incorporating play. Bring the book to life by acting it out afterwards with your child. Plan an outing or a craft that goes along with the book.

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S is for Sensory

I am very partial to sensory play. I think it is just so fun (for mama too!) and the list of benefits go on and on. Children learn through their senses; they touch things, smell things, and usually put them in their mouths! Social skills, self-expression, pre-math skills, language, and scientific thought are all being developed when children engage in sensory stimulation and play. Sensory bins, water play, sand play, play dough, and finger painting are all great sensory play ideas.

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T is for Toys

You can’t talk about play without mentioning toys. Although, not all toys are created equal. The best types of toys for children’s development are ones that are open-ended. Toys that are cause and effect or ones that usually require batteries are usually more toy directed play. Often they will require the child to push a button and the toy plays a song or performs some other function. Children will quickly grow tired of these toys as they don’t provide open-ended play opportunities. Open-ended toys allow children to build their creativity and expand their thinking. Blocks, Legos, Magna-tiles are great open-ended play toys. Toys that allow for pretend play such as kitchens, baby dolls, pretend food, etc., are also great toys for open-ended play. Pretend play can be open-ended because there are so many scenarios that children can act out. Do not forget that some of the simplest things such as a cardboard box can provide some of the best entertainment.


Be sure to check back tomorrow for letters U-Z of the ABC’s of Learning Through Play. I will be adding each post HERE as they are posted.

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