Children are natural learners from experiences in their environment, especially through different types of play during their early childhood years. Play is crucial to the development and allows children to learn new concepts and ideas, as well as engagement and socialisation.
What are some of the types of play and how do they affect learning in children?
Children often play alone by themselves. This prepares them to be self-sufficient and allows them to explore at their own pace, sparked by a natural sense of curiosity. While some children are happy to play independently immersed in their world, younger children tend to check in with caregivers often to feel safe while exploring alone.
This is a type of play where children are the onlookers or observe other children at play to learn and absorb ideas. It is common for children with siblings when the younger child watches an older one to learn and figure out what they are doing and how to play like them.
Active and Constructive play
Children love moving about, building things, and being active. This is a very natural type of physical play that is key in helping them develop a wide range of crucial motor skills and movement; from fine motor skills such as scooping sand with a tool to large movements such as jumping, hopping, and running. Constructive play also helps further develop these motor skills with objective manipulation such as stacking toys and cognitive awareness of objects.
Before children learn how to interact with each other, they tend to play separately alongside each other rather than together. This is perfectly normal as it forms the first step for children to learn social cues and begin the early stages of building relationships with others. During this type of play, children will begin noticing and even copying each other with realising it.
This is where children play cooperatively with each other in a meaningful way, utilising their new social skills and learning how to navigate deeper and more complex relationship management such as negotiating, compromising, and resolving conflict. You might see tears and tantrums, as the young children are still trying to figure out their emotions and how friendships work. This type of play is crucial to help children mature and ensure successful future interactions.
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