“Learn by play” has become a cliché, but it’s also become one of the most controversial subjects around the world among educational researchers and academics.
Have you ever stopped to watch how children interact/engage with their toys? Which toys do they enjoy playing with most. Which ones last the longest? Which ones are always recycled through friends? Which ones are “for boys/girls/gender-neutral? And so on. In our household, it definitely isn’t the big-brand toys.
Early Childhood News is an excellent resource for parents and teachers alike. It classifies play as:
The natural activity of early childhood, play, is what children do and it is their way of life. For young children, there is no distinction between play and learning; they are one and the same. Playing is a priority in early childhood, yet not all play is the same.
Most experts agree that children’s play can be divided into these categories:
- Active play: running, jumping, climbing, riding, and other use of large muscles.
- Quiet play: reading, stringing, coloring, etc.
- Cooperative or social play: games and activities that involve more than one.
- Solitary play: drawing, dreaming, or any activity that involves only one.
- Manipulative play: putting together puzzles, building with blocks, cutting and pasting, or any activity that involves eye-hand coordination or fine motor skills.
- Creative play: painting, molding, solving problems, making music, telling stories, or any activity that involves a child’s imagination.
- Dramatic play: dress-up, make-believe, or any play that involves pretending.
The world is ever evolving, the education system worldwide needs to adapt to the changes and turn young individuals into world-ready leaders. Many curriculums are at last looking at concept learning, and hands on, “learning by play”.
As teachers, we are there to facilitate across many different mediums, as required by the curriculum and the learning objectives.
As parents, we compliment learning at home by interacting with our children, developing their; resilience, language and coordination such as utilising educational-based toys like linking cubes, building blocks to facilitate the many forms of play, Manipulative play, Quiet play, Creative play, Dramatic play, Cooperative or social play and Active play.
After spending a week at one of the biggest toy fairs in the world, it’s clear there needs to be a greater understanding of what parents, children and teachers alike want from the toy shops. The difference in education toys vs licensed figurines, battery powered cars (always break in my household after a week) With educational toys children are developing their foundation skills from fine motor skills, design thinking, problem solving to critical thinking.
If a child is designing a tower, using cars to build a city, the first thing they do is to decide on colours, shapes, length and how many? All are early years foundation skills like fine motors skills, balance, coordination needed in order to build with the construction tools. For example, the new Rainbow Pebbles are great for learning by play, teaching basic mathematical and design concepts. (Creative, Solitary, Cooperative, Dramatic, Manipulative play)
Do you see them playing with the blocks, or construction toys and think ‘wow how did they come up with that design’ (Manipulative play) or imagine they will be architects when they are older. It’s funny to see what toys parents like to buy all around the globe. Is it toys with batteries, famous characters, educational based toys? Or just basic blocks, then allowing the child to create anything they want from the tallest building in the world to an animal kingdom, cars or even games.
As parents and teachers, we provide the knowledge facilitated with experience, we can also provide interactions at home. With educational based toys it allows children to develop the depth of knowledge they have created through experience.
Here are some links to educational toys websites from around the globe:
- Edx Education shopedx.com (Middle East, Africa, Asia)
- Learning Advantage learningadvantage.com (USA, North America)
- Educational Experience: edex.com.au (Australia & New Zealand)
- Hope Education: hope-education.co.uk (UK & Europe)
#edxeducation #edex #hopeeducation #learningadvantage #learnbyplay #educationaltoys