Good Play Matters

Good Play Matters.

This is a post written for Fat Brain Toys – Toy Blog. I wanted to share the full version here.

Today, our kids have so many toys. Maybe too many toys. Is there such a thing? I think maybe the right answer to this is, they have too many SIMILAR toys! 

At times we all try to limit the number of toys they have or purge what we do have, in time for a birthday or holiday celebration – but sometimes it’s just so hard to get rid of items that your child loves, so in return, we try to purchase different types of gifts. Whether they are books, clothing or educational toys – we are trying to find something DIFFERENT! As a mom, sometimes I feel like these “different” toys will not be received as well, but usually, I’m wrong, and my daughter loves them just as much!

good-play-matters

Let’s take educational toys for example. My daughter is not old enough to attend public school yet so rather than attending a traditional daycare, she goes to a Montessori school. If you are unfamiliar, Montessori is a child-centered curriculum rather than teacher led, and it is amazing to watch. At Montessori school, they are learning about practical life skills and academic skills through play (aka “works”). They will use these educational style toys to learn about reading, writing, math, geometric, culture and even practical life skills. Did I mention this is all before the age of 5? 

Education toys play a HUGE role in this type of environment. The classrooms are full of non-traditional toys and learning materials – the child thinks that their “work” is play and they may not realize at first that they are learning. Whether they are using different size blocks to learn about size, shape and stacking – or if they are using marbles and wooden tracks, to create different slopes, hills and flat areas to learn about speed and direction – they are playing while learning! They are learning so much more than you could ever guess. 

If you watch these children, they look and feel like they are playing. That is what I would call GOOD PLAY! They are playing for long periods of time, independently or with a partner – but they are learning at the same time. Shouldn’t we be doing more of this? 

As parents, I think we also have to bring some of these ideas home. Choosing the right toys for the age or even more challenging educational toys can really help our children grow their body and mind. They are capable of so much, at such a young age. Our children, are still little kids – we are obviously going to still have the hottest toy they asked Santa for or the doll they got from a friend – but there is a balance that has to be achieved when it comes to the toys we buy.

So, what am I getting to with all of this? I feel that the fact that some “non-traditional” schools can bring good play into the daily routine, reveals that there is plenty of room for play in even a traditional classroom environment. When I heard of some schools getting away from group time or playtime and stick kindergarteners at a desk ALL DAY LONG, it makes me sad. I would hope that traditional schools will continue to take note that play matters and keep children playing in the classroom; because really… good play does matter!

This is a post written for Fat Brain Toys – Toy Blog. I wanted to share the full version here.

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16 thoughts on “Good Play Matters.

  1. Debbie L.

    I am all for toys that encourage learning and play. I also like children books with a meaning. Some of my funnest memories of when my children were small is our make believe time – just us and our imagination.

    Reply
  2. Jen

    I went to a Montessori school as a child, and I just became aware that there is a Montessori high school in our area. Any experience in upper grades with Montessori? Just curious on others’ experiences.

    Reply
  3. Lois Alter Mark

    Play time and great toys that encourage kids to imagine and create are so important. I worry that we are making kids grow up too fast and that they’re losing the ability to just be children.

    Reply
  4. maria @closetohome

    I think part of the problem that kindergarten is getting away from that is parents are holding their kids back and starting K later, thus now you have 6 year olds not 5 anymore and they are more educated plus they have state requirements. Sad none the less.

    Reply
  5. Rosey

    My son’s principal noted an extra 15 minutes of playtime for the kids late in the afternoon every school day. My son’s teacher was not overly thrilled about it, but my son was (he’s a first grader). 🙂

    Reply
  6. Lexie Lane

    I like this post. My son is at such a young age that I do think about his education and where he would be. He seems a little advanced for a 4 year old so I do worry if school would actually hold him back. I do understand the importance of having some social skills though and know that it’s one of the reasons school can be great for him.

    Reply

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