EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Let the Learning and PLAY begin!

Posted on: January 30, 2012


Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Children love to play; games, chase, house, soccer. Children play all the time. Children are good at playing.

Children love to learn; rhymes, songs, how to ride a bike, how to read.  Children are learning all the time.  Children are good at learning.

Learning and playing are good partners. They are good for children.

Maximize this wonderful, natural partnership….Play with your children indoors and out.   Play every day –  teach every day.

Puzzles and blocks teach language – language that describes; red, colossal, language that labels; structure, tower.  They are math and science builders – sequence, weight, measure, patterns, predict. Toys that typically go with blocks, such as buildings, bridges, vehicles and people are so important to help children learn selection, naming, movement and categories.

Superheroes and princesses are a fact of life.  Play heroes with your children.  What’s wrong with being powerful enough to save the day?!  There are lots of reasons to pay attention to princesses who are helpful and take care of themselves.  Set up and play out scenarios that encourage your child to solve a problem and expand their imagination.  What defines “good”?  What is magical thinking?

Pretend play; playing school, house, builder or firefighter are ripe with learning opportunities.  Matching visuals (uniforms, tools, materials), connecting language (principal, emergency, build) and recognizing responsibilities (teaching, parenting, constructing, and spraying) teach children to organize thinking and extend literacy and physical skills. Children do not consider pretend play gender based. 

Creative play gets messy!  Painting, coloring, squeezing play dough, spreading glitter and glue teach small muscle skills and eye-hand coordination. Creative play teaches colors, shapes and symbols. Creative play teaches set up and clean up.   Creative tools are lacing cards, ribbons and fancy scissors.  Creativity teaches acceptance of imagination!

Backyard and playground play are body builders. These are natural playscapes that teach children about bones & muscles, balance, healthy habits and safety. Put a jacket on and run around.  Swing a bat, kick a ball and ride bikes.  You will be teaching children how important a healthy body is. 

Sing silly songs, rhyme names and objects, write with chalk on the sidewalk and play hopscotch. Play games your children play.  Talk about what you do.   Read every day with children.  Listen to them read. Be fun and funny.   Be the play partner they want for a lifetime.

I tried to teach my child with books,
He gave me only puzzled looks.
I tried to teach my child with words,
They passed him by often unheard.
Despairingly I turned aside,
How shall I teach this child, I cried.
Into my hands he put the key,
“Come”, he said, “play with me!”  Anon.

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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