U is for Unstructured Play
Children need time for unstructured play- nearly double the amount of structured play. Children learn so much when they are left to their own devices and allowed to play freely. While parent-led play can be fun and has its place, allowing your child free time to play on their own is crucial. Playing outdoors is a wonderful example of unstructured play and children need opportunities each day to play outside.
V is for Vygotsky
Vygotsky, a child development theorist, believed that one way children learn is through “scaffolding”. Scaffolding is when someone more knowledgeable, like a parent, helps children through questions, suggestions, guidance, etc., to do something that is just above the child’s current skill. An example of this would be to help a child understand how to complete a puzzle by making suggestions or showing them how, by example, to do it.
W is for Water Play
Water play is a form of sensory play. Children learn through pouring, measuring, and dumping. Water play is completely open-ended. Children learn pre-math skills, problem-solving skills, and much more through playing with water. Children can enhance water play by using toys, making bubbles, or colored ice cubes.
X is for Xylophone
Bring out the drums! Children learn so much when they are playing instruments or dancing to music: they learn creative expression through playing and through movement. Language can also be enhanced through music. Ask them how a song or instrument makes them feel.
Y is for Yellow
Children can learn colors through simple play. When playing, label things according to their color. You may also try a color scavenger hunt
Z is for Zebra
Through play, children can build their understanding about their world and about the creatures that inhabit it. Small world play is when children are provided with small figurines and other play materials to play and interact with a “small world”. Animal toys are great for small world play. A small world farm or a small world zoo is a great way for children to learn about animals through play.
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For more Learning Through Play ideas check out these wonderful bloggers’ “ABC’s of….”
- Baking with Kids from Life at the Zoo
- Bath Activities for Kids from Bath Activities for Kids
- Discovery Bottles from Teach Preschool
- Farming for Children from Glittering Muffins
- Fitness for Kids from 3 Dinosaurs
- Imaginative Play from Train up a Child
- Kids Activities from Growing a Jeweled Rose
- Learning Through Play from Love Play & Learn
- Learning Toys & Manipulatives from This Reading Mama
- Movement Activities for Young Kids from AngeliqueFelix.com
- Play Dough from The Imagination Tree
- Playing with Light from Graham and Parker
- Preschool Play from Its Our Long Story
- Sensory Bins from Royal Baloo
- Sensory Play from Creative Play House
- Toddler Activities from Toddler Approved
- Winter Outdoor Play from Pleasantest Thing