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How to Integrate Learning in the Early Years so Your Children Learn through Play?

Elvis Elvis

Children learn through play. Early years children are already learning in their own way, whether they’re in school or homeschool. In my opinion, a home is a large enough area for a toddler to explore. Have you ever heard of a toddler who does not walk around and touch every single thing he/she sees ?

Play ! Play ! Play ! That’s what matters to them. Children learn through play. They learn about their own bodies, about their environment, about people around them.

You can read on or go directly to reading activities page, math activities page, or preschool activity ideas page.

Importance of play

From the day they were born, children want to learn. They want to understand how the world works, how their world works. Babies learn by interacting with people around them, using the tools that babies have.

Watch your baby and see the kind of learning baby does.

How to Integrate Learning in the Early Years so Your Children Learn through Play?

I loved watching my babies when they were just a couple of days old. How he tried to get that tiny little thumb into his mouth. How he struggle to get his hands out of his blanket.

Children learn through play. Adults need to join in their play. Toys aren’t really necessary. Parents are their number one toy.

Ever heard a child say “I don’t want that toy, I want to play with YOU !” Don’t worry if you cannot buy that fancy, expensive mobile for your baby. YOU are all he/she needs right now.

When you play with your kids, there’s no rule (except for safety). Be spontaneous. Follow what your kids are playing. Join in the fun. Let them lead. Enjoy in their delight. Offer help when they need it. Challenge them when they’re ready. They ARE learning, children learn through play, we adult just don’t see it.

To us adult, playing might not seem like a lot of learning. Playing blocks seems like just stacking them and knocking them down. Playing in water is just a mess, pouring water in and out, splashing around. Peek-a-boo is plain boring for adults.

But to kids, playing blocks is a way for them to practice fine motor skills. They’re practicing their fingers to grasp and hold the block, lift it up and balancing it on top of another block to make a stack. That’s a very BIG thing for kids.

Playing in water is just fun for kids. They learn that not all things are hard, there are liquids too. There are the concepts of empty and full when they pour water out of a cup.

Peek-a-boo is very exciting. Now you see it, now you don’t. Babies and little kids delight in this simple game. They learn that although you can’t see a thing, it still exist. Mommy might be hiding behind those hands, but she’s still there (baby might not realize that those hands are mommy’s, but that’s another learning to do).

So play, play, and play. Play with your kids until they don’t want to play anymore. Integrate learning to their play. Introduce books as early as you can. It’s never too early to start reading. You can even start math ! Count, name the shape, sort, stack. Those are all math related. I’ll discuss more about reading, math , and writing as the 3R of learning.

A note on TV

Before that, I’d like to mention a little bit about TV. Some parents see TV as their best nanny. And it could be. What child wouldn’t be amazed by TV. It’s a moving picture ! It can talk ! It really entertains !

It may even seem easier to feed a child when he/she is watching TV. It keeps them quiet so mommy can do her work. It may even put the child to sleep.

However, children learn through play and watching TV is not play. Too much TV is not good for your child development. Watching TV doesn’t require a lot from a child. It’s very ‘passive’. I hate the blank look on my kids eyes whenever they watch TV. It’s like they’re being hypnotized.

TV can be a good thing if you watch it with them and interact with them while you’re watching. Shows like Blue’s Clues and Dora the Explorer are interactive. But parent need to be there and make the child interact, otherwise they’ll just sit there and watch, not thinking, not interacting, not learning. Children learn through play, active play, not watching TV.

So if you want your child to watch TV, be selective, watch with your kids, and limit it to 30 minutes – 1 hour per day. That’s it. Be firm with it.

To summarize
* Children learn through play, so let them play
* Join them
* Share their delight
* Follow their lead, let them tell you what they want to play
* Offer help when needed, challenge when ready
* Only worry about safety, there’s no rule when it comes to child play
* Limit watching TV