Friday, December 18, 2009

Learn Through Play

What children take away from their play experiences is endless! Through rich and varied play experiences, children gain many learning benefits. In a Young Children article (September 2007), Dr. Alice Honig offers 10 ideas about what children learn through play. Let's explore one of her ideas and see how it relates to playing at the Museum and playing at home.

Play Enhances Dexterity and Grace (Honig, September 2007)
Play offers opportunity for practicing and learning eye-hand coordination. The ability to place an object inside or next to another object takes time and practice. Through manipulation of objects children enhance their hand dexterity. This child is using her small motor movements to manipulate the Magnatiles in our Math Connections neighborhood. Her movements will become more controlled over time.

Learning to control body movements in space is another important skill learned through play. When your child connects the beads in Math Young Explorers or uses the mallet to create sound on the Amadinda (large xylophone) in the Room for Rhythm room, she is developing confidence in her ability to control body movements in space.

To promote whole body gracefulness, visit the Multisensory Room and invite your children to move their bodies as they explore the lights, color, sounds and textures in the room; or attend one of our Tiny Great Performances, where children can sing or dance along with our performers.

At home, you can boost your child's early learning by spending some time outdoors. When children use their bodies in ways that encourage moving their legs and feet, such as riding a tricycle or playing a sport, they are enhancing the coordination of those muscles and developing control of their body movements.

Stay tuned! Next time we'll look at how play prompts children's reasoning of cause and effect, another power boost for children's early learning, as suggested by Dr. Honig.

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