Learning through Play

We went to our local museum the other day. 

I've been listening to a historical fiction audiobook about the Oregon Trail, as well as reading a book of short true stories from that point in history. The combination has encouraged a lot of sharing with my kids about the tough people and incredible challenges our ancestors faced. 

This discussion led us to revisit our museum. We walked around, looked at things, discussed, and then explored further. We learned about the pioneers and got excited about a door on display that was full of bullet holes from an Indian attack! We were thrilled to see some of the old weapons as well. All in all it was exciting and fun.

But then we played! 

We went to were they had an old covered wagon to look at, a small store full of supplies, and old cookery to play with. My girls got right to work gathering plastic food from the store barrels and "cooking" food in the large cast iron pot. We played pioneers on the trail.

Not only did we have fun and but as kids act out and play what they are learning they remember it so much better.  Learning is exciting!

Years ago (before kids) I was a preschool teacher. A fellow teacher of mine who was in charge of the Pre-K3 class talked to me about her daily schedule for her little ones.

"Studies show that kids need more unstructured play time" she said in some surprise. "It helps them learn." So, in her very structured day, she incorporated a good stretch of free play according to the recommendations of the study.

I smile at this now because of course kids learn through play, especially young kids! But I think we all underestimate how much kids learn through play.

This article from pediatricsaappublications.org   puts it this way when talking about preschool and education:

"Instead of focusing solely on academic skills, such as reciting the alphabet, early literacy, using flash cards, engaging with computer toys, and teaching to tests, cultivating the joy of learning through play is likely to better encourage long-term academic success. Collaboration, negotiation, conflict resolution, self-advocacy, decision-making, a sense of agency, creativity, leadership, and increased physical activity are just some of the skills and benefits children gain through play."

They learn best through play. It's not a diversion from their education it is part of education and learning as well benefits academics. Isn't that cool?! 

As a homeschool mom it helps me to focus on and encourage the joy of learning over just getting it done! 

Whether you homeschool or not, playing is a part of learning for our little ones, and we all know learning is important. Sit down on the floor with your little one and see what he's learned lately. Take the time to do some imaginary play with your bigger ones and see where it takes you. Playing is a lot of fun (not matter you age) but it's also an incredible way to learn!

Much love,


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