Games and play help children form such essential skills as creativity, curiosity, self-discipline, problem-solving, social, linguistic, and listening skills. As a parent, you should ensure that your children make time for play every day. You should allow your kids to choose the game and decide how and when to play.
In this article, you will find tips on how to get the most out of playtime to encourage development in children.
1. Dress-Up and Role Play
It may surprise you, but dress-up play is greatly beneficial for kids. Firstly, dress-up helps children explore other people’s lives by imitating their actions, feelings, and words. It allows kids to better understand the adult world, roles, interests, and interactions.
Secondly, dress-up play helps children develop fine motor skills by completing such actions as buttoning a shirt, zipping up pants, or fastening a band. Thirdly, it enhances creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.
How can you encourage playing dress-up? You don’t need to buy fancy, pre-made costumes of cartoon or other characters. Just allow your kids to use your cloth, household objects, and toys (e.g., a toy medical kit), and let their imaginations run wild.
2. Introduce Sensory Play
If you are a parent of a toddler, we highly suggest you introduce sensory play. Sensory play is effective for developing fine and gross motor skills, cognitive growth, language development, and problem-solving skills.
Your main task here is to create a sensory bin and invite your toddlers to an inviting space that doesn’t distract them from the play. What can you add to the sensory bin? Literally, anything that is safe for your child to use:
- Shredded paper
- Fabric scraps
- Flower petals
- Cotton balls
- Kinetic sand
- Building Lego blocks or wooden blocks
- Grass or leaves
- Ribbon curls
3. Start a Lego Building Project
Lego toys are one of the most affordable yet the most effective educational toys for kids. LEGO brick sets help to build fine motor skills while also encouraging persistence, creativity, and collaboration. Completion of the Lego building project gives a child a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of success.
As for today, Lego offers more than 600 brick sets, so you have many options to choose from. Ask your kids what kind of building project they want to work on. It can be a military helicopter, magic castle, police station, or whatever matches your kids’ interest.
Also, you should encourage your kids to learn more about Lego Company and the story behind it. Offer students to visit a helpful site and educate themselves about the history of toy creation – that’s a great way to trigger all-around development. The more knowledge your kids acquire while playing, the higher academic results they will achieve in school.
4. Enroll your Children in Robotics Classes
Demand for engineering professionals is growing year by year. So if you want to raise a successful child, it will be wise of you to introduce your child to engineering as early as possible. One of the easiest ways to do it is to enroll your kid in robotics classes.
Robotics classes are designed to improve creative thinking skills, social skills, problem-solving skills, and computer programming skills. Engineering For Kids offers robotics engineering classes for kids between ages 4 and 14. Whether your child is a preschooler or middle schooler, he or she will be able to learn the basics of robot design and computer programming in a fun way.
5. Play with Sports Balls
The physical development and mental development of your child are both equally important. So you should find a way to motivate your kid to enjoy physical activity. You can do it with the help of basketballs, soccer balls, or even balls made out of things around the house.
Physical exercises that include throwing, catching, and kicking balls are good for muscle development, hand-eye coordination, and overall fitness. Play with your kids at least 15 minutes a day – that’s a great way to improve your kids’ health.
It’s worth mentioning that you don’t have to buy an expensive ball for soccer or basketball or any fancy balls. You can make a ball with rolled-up socks, office paper, newspaper, or other affordable materials.
6. Cooking and Pretend-Cooking
If you like to cook, invite your kids to help you out in the kitchen. Show your kid how to prepare and serve simple meals and how to wash dishes. If your child is not ready for “real” cooking, you can opt for “pretend” cooking.
Both, cooking and pretend cooking, are great play scenarios for kids. Cooking involves such processes as sensory play, home safety, mathematical concepts, and following processes. Helping you out in the kitchen, kids can learn how to use the knife, how to calculate the number of various ingredients, and, most importantly, how to be self-reliant.
7. Set up a Treasure Hunt
Modern kids are disconnected from the natural world. And that’s a problem that needs a solution. You should make your kid spend more time in nature to reduce stress levels, improve concentration, and increase exposure to bright light, which enhances health and mental performance.
Create a treasure hunt together with your kids. Think of “treasures” they can find outside (it can be anything from flowers and bugs to bird tracks and colorful rocks). Then explore the backyard, local garden, playground, or park and help kids learn more about flora and fauna.
The more time kids spend outdoors, the more effectively they will develop their abilities (both mental and physical). Set up treasure hunts every second week and your kids will become more curious and more attentive to details.
You are responsible for your child’s development, and you should put your effort into helping your son and daughter to learn new skills. We highly encourage you to apply these seven tips to develop your children through play while enjoying time together.
Author: Kristin Savage
Kristin Savage is an educational writer and editor. She runs her own blog and helps college students and school children to develop their writing talents. Kristen is a volunteer at a local youth center and e-learning enthusiast.