Those of us who can remember our parents telling us to go outside and play, can recall how much fun you had. Whether climbing trees, playing marbles in the dirt, or swinging on vines in the forest behind the house, we never failed to have fun. Did you know that playing is one way that children learn best? That is why many educators say, “Play is children’s work.”
According to Stipek and Seal in “Motivated Minds,” there are ways to promote your child’s playful learning at home. “First and foremost, give your child lots of time for free play. And make sure she has a place: a playroom, a backyard, or a corner of the living room to play safely.
Second, provide some props for your child’s play. But don’t put a lot of expensive “educational toys” on your credit card. Kids benefit more from active manipulation and exploration than passive watching, so simple toys that demand imagination are better than flashy battery powered cars or talking dolls, which limit what your child can do. Complicated toys that dictate a specific activity are fun at first, but children usually lose interest in them quickly because they don’t allow them to experiment, explore, or create.
“The more the child can do with the toy, the more likely it is to be truly educational,” says Janey Brown McCrecken. ⁵ Flexible toys, like Legos, Lincoln logs, Ramagon, and Brio toys, allow kids to exercise their imagination and to take satisfaction and pride in their creations “(30-31).