Playing is an essential part of growing up, children need to play to develop emotional maturity and social, intellectual and physical competences and life-skills. We learn through play! How to socialize! We experience physical and emotional situations real and imaginary when given time to play. We learn in play situations, especially when the child taking part in the playing has a feeling of being safe and in control.
According to Jane M Healy, in "Your Child's Growing Mind (brain development and learning from Birth to Adolescence)" infants look for stimulation from simple experiences. Meaningful learning takes place when a little one is exploring through her / his senses, playing and having fun in a safe and secure environment.
In the Gr. R space consider and plan both the indoor and outdoor spaces for the children to learn through play. Safety is very important. Include both structured and unstructured play.
Structured or organized play is where children are engaged in doing a task and generally the adult leads the activity. For example card or board games, story telling or story making, music, singing or dancing, ball dames or water tasks.
While unstructured or free play is where the child does or plays with whatever he / she feels like. They have the freedom to decide what they want to play, within the confines of the safe space. This play is not planned, it just happens.
Children should be exposed to many different opportunities where they can construct, explore and pretend while playing. In the classroom set up areas for this to take place.
Classroom organization is always very important, planning the layout of where the different types of activities will take place makes classroom life easier and organised.
Consider the types of play:
- Dressing up - imaginative play
- Constructing using building blocks, or boxes
- Story listening or creating
- Drawing, painting, cutting out and pasting
- Making music or listening to music
- Caring for animals or nature related tasks
This space to must be organized and planned. Here the children should be able to run around, climb under, over and through items, play with sport items, such as rackets and balls, skipping ropes. It is very important that the area is safe and the equipment is well cared for.
Consider equipment the following types of tasks:
- Swinging - swinging tyres, swings or even ropes
- Sliding - down a slope on boxes, or on slides
- Climbing over, under and through, such as jungle gyms, climbing nets, boxes to climb in and out of
- Jumping over or in and out - skipping ropes, boxes, tyres.
- Water / sand play; such as sand pits, water and / or sand tables, with items to play to use - funnels, jugs, plastic bottles, sponges
- Throwing and catching, kicking and / or hitting: bean bags, balls, ratchets, goal hoops or nets
- Nature awareness, vegetable or flower garden, insect garden, garden bird area
Allow children both free play and organized play in all the different areas. The space should be organized, safe and fun to be in, so that meaningful play will take place. Enjoy allowing the children to learning meaningfully while they play! Allow the children to have FUN!