Everyday school activities are learning opportunities for children. But, at the same time, it can be overwhelming and exhausting too. There are simple ways to teach children without being it stressful, like play-based learning.
Play-based learning is very important to preschool teachers looking for new and interesting methods to teach their students. Therefore, this article is all about play-based learning.
So, how does play-based learning work? It can be organized in both the home and preschool. Also, kids can play alone or as a group. The play-based learning method is a children-led, fun, and free learning process. Through simple unstructured play, children will gain the opportunity to learn and develop their cognitive skills, learn new vocabulary, and enhance their social, physical, and literacy abilities. Moreover, playing helps children to learn about themselves and where they fit in the world.
Accordingly, in this article, I have covered what play-based learning is, how play-based learning experiences help a child, how play-based learning is implemented, examples of play-based learning, and tips for play-based learning. Let’s get started and learn more about this amazing topic.
Table of Contents
What Is Play-Based Learning?
Play-based learning is one of the teaching methods that can be effectively used to teach preschoolers. If you imagine finger painting or a “playhouse” for preschoolers, you are right. Playing is a voluntary and enjoyable activity with no end or ultimate goal.
So, how does play-based learning work? Believe it or not, play-based learning activities lay the foundation for children to become curious and excited learners in later life. It helps children develop social skills, learning motivation, and even language and calculation skills.
Taking the initiative, concentrating, and being curious about the world are all part of the game. Children are born to do things that help them learn and grow.
Having a clear idea of what play-based learning is will show you how play-based learning works. There are several elements of play-based learning;
- A child voluntarily chooses to play
- Children should decide how they’ll play and for how long
- An adult can involve when a child invites or suggests play
- No learning goals
How Do Play-Based Learning Experiences Help A Child?
So it is clear that play-based learning can support learning across physical, social, emotional, and intellectual areas of development. But you may doubt how play-based learning works and the way it helps your child.
“Play-based learning experience develops children’s content knowledge and provides children the opportunity to develop social skills, competencies, and disposition to learn.”
Therefore, when children engage in imaginary activities, it can help their early childhood in many ways.
- Develop cognitive skills
When children are playing, they use all their senses, communicate thoughts and emotions, explore new things and improve social-emotional skills.
Therefore, it helps them develop their cognitive skills and can be identified as an important section of early childhood development.
- Develop social and emotional skills
Since play-based activities are mostly done in groups, it helps the kids to improve their social and emotional skills. Kids learn to listen, share and collectively work with their friends or playmates.
Further, it teaches them to control their emotions and express them gently in words or other acceptable ways.
- Develop fine motor skills
Fine motor skills are very important for preschoolers. Active playing is the most important method to develop fine motor skills.
Therefore, play-based learning can be effectively used in this regard.
- Develop logical thinking
Thinking, planning and organizing are major elements of play-based learning, and it helps kids to improve their logical thinking.
Since kids lead play-based activities, they automatically think logically to create an interesting game.
- Develop language and communication skills
When children learn in play-based group activities, they have to talk, discuss, or show their feelings to the group members or playmates.
This improves their language skills and develops their communication skills. This is also a good answer to the question, “how does play-based learning help?”
- Make the children happy
Playing is the kids’ most interesting and favorite activity, and they never get tired of it. So, it makes them happy and keeps them active. It positively impacts their mental health.
Also, this can be emphasized as the most amazing thing about play-based learning. Kids have their whole life to study whatever they want, but preschool time is the only time they get to play enough.
Therefore, it is very nice to allow them to play as much as they want and make them learn essential things through playing.
How Is Play-Based Learning Implemented?
Play-Based – learning can be implemented in pre-primary settings as well as early grades of primary school. There are many forms of play, such as;
- Played with objects
- Imaginary play
- Play with peers and adults
- Solitary play
- Cooperative play
- Associative play
- Physical play
The role of teachers and adults in the environment is to enable playful experiences and learning.
This requires thoughtful planning and interactions with natural curiosities and ideas, such as following the children’s lead-in and pretend play.
So, how does play-based learning work for primary students? Learning through play is not only for preschoolers. Play enhances children’s academic concepts and builds motivation to learn in primary grades.
The two main important things that play develop are interest and motivation. Playing board games strengthens concepts in math while building social competence. Struggling readers move on when they play with dramatizing stories and other reading games.
Making a ‘writing corner’ helps children to develop their writing abilities. Primary-grade students should engage actively with materials and topics and opens up the space for problem-solving.
What Are Examples Of Play-Based Learning?
Examples of play-based learning will help you to find the answer to “how does play-based learning work.”
Play-Based learning activities can be fun learning opportunities that allow your child to discover new things. Here are some examples of play-based learning.
Good play-based learning experiences for three to five-year-olds include:
- Drawing and painting
- Emptying and filling containers with water or sand
- Climbing, digging, and running
And children can engage in indoor play-based – learning activities such as;
- Musical chairs
- Jumping over a rope
- Acting out stories
- Hide and seek
- Follow the leader games
Children always like to run and play outside. So the ideas for outdoor play-based learning activities include:
- Running and stopping
- Throwing and catching a ball
- Hitting softballs with a tennis racket or soft cricket bat
- Going to the park
- Field trips
- Playing on the equipment
Tips For Play-Based Learning
We can see that play-based learning is essential to the development of children as it gives valuable opportunities for children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and motor skills.
But how does play-based learning work? You have to ensure that children are getting the right kind of play. The following tips will be very useful for that.
- Let them fail
Sometimes you have to let them fail. Then they will learn from their “mistakes” and try not to do them again.
This can allow them to pull themselves up on safe, height-appropriate items or give them a walker. So they can try their first steps without taking your help.
- Repeat, elaborate, and question
Remember to imitate their sounds or actions when you play with them to reinforce their vocabulary and cognitive skills.
Ask simple open-ended questions based on what they are doing. That may be related to words, numbers, colors, shapes, etc.
- Make it fun and creative
Create a fun and interesting play space for your kids. It may offer different areas of learning and choose toys wisely. Mainly they are vibrant and multi-functional.
- Give them space
Do not interfere unnecessarily with your child’s playing. Let them move freely. Give them some space so they can learn to play and explore independently.
The amount of free space should vary depending on their age. Playing alone will make your child creative, as sometimes you’ll see their imagination at work!
This will build their confidence when they realize what they can do all by themselves.
- Eliminate distractions
Try to keep away from distractions while playing with the child. You can turn off all electronics that can distract your child.
Such as TV, tablets, and yes, even your phone. Let them fully focus on using their imagination and creativity and exploring their environment.
It is crystal clear that students learn through play. Also, playing supports positive attitudes to learning among children. Such as imagination, curiosity, enthusiasm, and persistence.
Also, play-based learning methods make the foundation for successful learning capacity at early ages. They will be able to face challenges and create solutions quickly. But it is important to choose proper playing methods at each age of the children.
As this article explained how play-based learning works, teachers and parents now have enough knowledge to make the kids learn through the play-based learning method.
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