Have you ever noticed a child playing alone with their toys? Try and observe one day. Are they really “just playing?” Are they using the toy for its intended purpose, or are they playing with it another way? Are they talking to their toys or an imaginary friend? I’ve posted about this topic before, but they aren’t “just playing.” Everything a young child does is their individual way of exploring and learning about their environment. When I was studying Early Childhood Education, I found the following poem and it made so much sense to me that I found myself questioning how anyone could think otherwise.
Building with blocks teaches balance and critical thinking. Imitating everyday situations (cooking, cleaning, taking care of other children, driving to work, etc.) helps kids to learn what skills they’re expected to one day know how to do as adults. When kids are running around like lunatics for what seems like no reason at all, they’re learning about their bodies and how they can move. When they make puzzles, they’re learning concentration and focus. When they’re painting, coloring, or making music, they’re learning about positive self-expression and creativity.
So next time you’re watching a kid play, take a closer look. You’ll be surprised by how much they’re learning.