Let’s Play in the Early Years!

What’s more fun than the freedom of running in the park, balancing on one foot, jumping up and down with your friends. Whilst inventing new games to play, using your imagination to take you to wonderful places in the park, backyard, beach, swimming pool, playground, classroom and many more. Using all your senses (sensory/tactile play) to play whilst experience the world, touch, smell, sight, sound and even taste.

I love early years development, my son’s favourite game is pretending to visit his family that are strategically scattered all around the world from Asia, Europe, Australia, Middle East and North America. It starts with choosing family members we would like to visit. Then as you are jumping on the trampoline its time to choose the family members you need to visit, run around 10 times then we go to granny’s for dinner, this time jump on one leg 20 times then back to grandpas on the other side of the world (or should I say other side of the trampoline) for breakfast!

Recently there has been a great campaign by IPA (International Play Association) to encourage children to play more by see the youtube clip. Join the campaign ‘every child has the right to play’ with International Play Association, look on their website for the play rights magazine.

In the early years gross motor skills are so important for the development of children. Combining play with gross motor skills development, as mentioned in a previous article the following skills develop in children in early years.

Chatting about the games they are playing or activities they have completed they are creating different experiences to talk about developing language and increasing their vocabulary.

Gross motor skill development allows children to use their decision making skills by choosing what they will create and how they will play the game, who will play with them, how far to jump, skip, balance, run. Again similar to sensory play they take pride in their predications, whilst making observations and respond to their findings. They can also express their feeling through play with peers, teachers, friends, guardians, family and many more, testing their boundaries in a safe environment as well as experimenting with concepts.

Whilst practising their gross motor skills children develop their skills helping to build children’s muscle strength, balance and coordination.

Games, activities developing gross motor skills are  open ended, children can express their creativity and innovate how they feel. Which is necessary in order to complete a task given by a teacher/parent/guardian. Educators can look at many different approaches to creating a teaching environment one that fosters children is the Reggio Emilia philosophy is based upon the following set of principles:

When children make up the games and work in teams it is a great way for their peers to develop gross motor  skills. Websites and activities to look at for ideas:

– Parentteachplay great site with 40 indoor and 40 outdoor activities to play

– Pinterest great ideas for activities from other parents, teachers and industry professionals

– International Play Association – good website and resources for play

– www.edxeducation.com look at the different bean bags, games, scooters, wheelies, balancing activities. (Contact the office to find a local distributor in your region)

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