Children’s brains are constantly developing. When parents give their little ones adequate time and opportunities for play, it can yield various benefits. Playtime enriches the development of skills in language, creativity, math, science, and social interactions. Engaging in play also boosts children’s school readiness by providing a safe environment where youngsters can explore the world around them.
At first, we may think the primary goal of preparing children for school is academics. However, play is a critical factor in children’s school readiness and successful transition. Read on and learn more about the eight benefits of play as you prepare your child for school.
The Importance of play for school readiness
1. Improved academic performance
Engaging in play enriches the development of several essential skills needed to succeed in school. Two of these areas are creativity and problem-solving. Children can formulate new ideas during play and experiment with different strategies to win a game or solve a problem. This continued practice helps children become more independent learners when they begin attending school. When kids play, they are also exposed to various school-like tasks, including determining the steps needed to solve a math problem or write their names.
2. Social development
From an early age, social development is critical for school success. Children learn to engage in conversations, learn about cultural norms, and participate appropriately in groups through a play-based learning environment. Children interact through play and have numerous opportunities to learn how to share their toys, build friendships, and resolve conflicts effectively.
3. Language development
Language development is also a crucial component of school success. Playtime offers many opportunities for young children to strengthen their vocabulary, listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and oral expression skills. Children can learn to communicate using language by pretending to be animals or telling stories with action figures. As children interact, it helps to enrich their verbal communication skills, which are vital for success in school.
Another essential life skill as children approaches school age is self-regulation. This refers to our ability to control our impulses, make decisions, regulate our emotions, and manage our behaviour. Playtime helps children learn how to self-regulate because it allows them to explore the world around them with support and guidance from adults as needed. This gives them a safe environment where they can practice being accountable for their actions with adult supervision.
5. Fine motor skills development
Playtime allows children to hone necessary fine motor skills needed for school success. Kids have ample opportunities to strengthen these skills through activities like painting, colouring, writing letters, manipulating small toys, using utensils at lunchtime, assembling puzzles, and using other school supplies like scissors.
6. Math skills development
Playtime also gives kids opportunities to practice math skills. Some of these include counting, differentiating shapes, and problem-solving. They do this by working together with other kids to solve puzzles or problems that arise during their pretend activities. Whether they are looking for objects of a specific colour or figuring out the total number of toys they have, kids use a variety of primary number and shape recognition skills while playing.
7. Physical health & fitness
There is a connection between a child’s physical health and school readiness. Playtime gives kids a chance to be physically active while having fun. When children play, they may participate in activities like jumping, running, rolling balls, dancing, climbing on playground equipment or jungle gyms, riding bikes or scooters, playing sports, and using the school gym facilities. As children move their bodies, it helps them develop increased physical strength, endurance, coordination, flexibility, and body control. These are all necessary for school success.
8. Enrichment of emotional health & well-being
Playtime also improves school readiness by helping kids manage their emotions. This includes children’s ability to regulate anxiety or stress, express their feelings verbally and non-verbally, learn how to adapt to different social situations, self-soothe when they feel upset or angry, and stay calm when faced with conflict. When children play, they do so in an environment in which they can practice these skills under the supervision of adults who can guide them along the way.
Given these benefits, it’s evident that play is essential for each child’s school readiness as it enriches various facets of school success. Give young children ample opportunities to play and explore so they can be adequately prepared for school now and down the road.
At Children’s Corner, we believe our responsibility is to protect each child’s health, safety, and well-being as we provide a nurturing and loving environment to guide each child’s success. Contact us to learn more today!