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  • Writer's pictureCassandra Hyland

The Role of Play in Early Learning

Let’s start with a common misconception: 


Play is just for fun. 


Now, while it’s true that play brings a lot of joy and laughter, reducing it to "only for fun” is like saying a gourmet 3 Michelin star meal is just for filling your stomach.  


Play is so much more than that.  


Here’s something for you to consider: 


Play is a significant part of how children learn and grow. It’s their primary language. Their way of exploring the world, and their gateway to building essential skills for life.  


Every block tower they build, every imaginary friend they create, every game of tag they play – it all contributes to their cognitive, social, and emotional development.  


In fact, research shows that the more children engage in rich, varied play experience, the more equipped they are for future academic success, emotional well-being, and navigating the nuances of social interactions.  


Now, we’re not saying we need to turn every playtime into a structured lesson.  


But what we are suggesting is that we embrace play for the powerful learning tool that it is. Let’s explore the different types of play and uncover the hidden benefits behind those seemingly simple games and activities.  


Just like a balanced meal nourishes a growing body, a “balanced diet” of play experiences nourishes a growing mind.  


Here’s a nice way to think of it: different types of play offer different “nutrients” for your child’s development. 


Are you ready to explore the play menu? Let’s dive in and discover the hidden benefits behind each type of play, so you can create a rich and rewarding playtime experience for your child.  


Menu items: 


Appetiser: Sensorimotor Play 


This is the baby and toddler version of brain food. It’s all about exploring the world through senses and movement.  


Tummy time, grabbing toys, splashing in puddles – it all counts!  


This kind of play builds the foundation for everything else. It strengthens their muscles, helps them figure out how their bodies move, and even teaches them that their actions have an effect on the world around them.  


So, let them get messy from time to time, bang those pots and pans, and discover the joy of squishing mud between their fingers! 



Main Course: Symbolic Play 


This is where imagination takes flight!  


It’s when your child turns a banana into a phone, a cardboard box into a rocket ship, or your backyard into a magical forest.  


Pretend play is their way of trying on different roles (doctor, superhero, chef, army general, etc...), understanding how the world works, and expressing their feelings through stories.   


It’s like a vitamin boost for their creativity, communication skills, and empathy. So, go ahead and join them on their fun – be the patient to their doctor, the villain to their hero, or the customer at their pretend ice cream shop.  



Side Dish: Construction Play 


This is the playground for little engineers and architects. It’s all about building, creating, and solving problems. 


Whether it’s stacking blocks, constructing a fort out of pillows, or making a sandcastle, this type of play is crucial for their development.  


It helps them understand how shapes fit together, how to plan and execute a project, and how to bounce back when things don’t go as planned. 


So, let them knock things down and build the up again – each creation is a delicious serving of confidence and resilience.  



Dessert: Social Play 


The cherry on top is the play sundae – the sweet joy of connecting with others.  


It’s playing tag in the park, sharing toys, taking turns on the swings, and engaging in imaginary games with friends.  


This type of play teaches your child the most important life skills:  


How to share, negotiate, cooperate, and understand how others feel.  


It’s like a sweet treat for their social and emotional development that prepares them to navigate friendships and relationships throughout their lives.  


Embrace the Power of Play at Centenary Childcare Centre. 


So... there you have it.  


One important facet to developing a child's thriving mind doesn’t come from fancy toys or expensive gadgets... 


It’s in the simple joy of play. 


Remember, play isn’t just about keeping kids occupied – it’s their way of learning about the world, expressing themselves, and developing essential skills for life.  


And while a “balanced play diet” is important at every stage, the preschool years are a particularly crucial time for growth and development. 


At Centenary Childcare Centre, we understand the power of play. Our preschool program is carefully designed to provide a rich and diverse range of play experiences that nurture every aspect of your child’s development.  


From imaginative play that sparks creativity, to hands-on activities that build problem-solving skills, to social interactions that build friendships, your child will have countless opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive.  


So, if you want to learn more about how our preschool program can help your child discover the joy of learning through play... 


Then visit the link below today to discover a whole world of possibilities for your little one 👇 


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