Monday, June 13, 2016

Summertime Play: A Child's Work

     Summertime is here! Did you know that some of the best lessons don't come out of the classroom but from your child's imagination? The belief that play is a child's work is commonly accepted among researchers and educators in the field of early childhood. Practically from birth, children learn best from touching and experiencing objects using their five senses  to see the effects of the items on their world and on themselves. Play, along with proper nutrition, hygiene, and adult interaction is essential for proper social adjustment and problem solving skills. Children who play develop abstract thinking skills which will later help them with the necessary skills to be successful in their academic and personal lives.
     Children are constantly observing the interactions of adults. Through play they imitate these interactions. One of the best summers my children ever had was the summer that we got a new refrigerator. I had placed the refrigerator box in the garage for disposal. My kids begged me to keep it! So, we did. For the next couple of months my driveway and that box became a playhouse for all of the kids in the neighborhood! It's amazing what kids can do with duct tape, paint, and their imaginations!
     Another favorite of my children was play-doh! Kids can make play-doh into anything they want it to be. They can make figurines to role play and/or food to pretend to cook. 
     Let's not forget blocks and sandboxes or better yet the beach. What better things to use to build castles and dreams!
      I have one other activity that I used to let my kids do! We played in the rain! We put our boots and jumped in puddles. We got wet! (Only for rain showers without thunder and lightening). We laughed and had such a great time. What is the difference in getting wet in a pool or beach and a puddle? Okay, yes, puddles may be not quite as clean, but it's all good fun. I also wouldn't advice letting children jump in puddles unattended but within the realm of your own safe neighborhood, why not?
   Kids need to be kids! Kids need to play! So, this summer just let your kids be kids! Let them develop their sensori- motor skills, constructive play skills, their dramatic play scenarios, and if they are ready, play games with rules! Remember, the interactions in child's play, will give your child the lessons of giving and taking in social relationships. Creativity will strengthen as the child acts out make pretend dramas and expands on real life situations that the child has observed. Play also helps the child with math and reading because of  symbols and shapes used in play. This will become an even stronger skill if you read to your child as part of a regular routine.
     So this summer let your child do his/her work and let them play!