“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”-Fred Rogers
As adults, the word “play” is usually connected to something we do after the kids are raised, and we are nestling into our Golden Years. “Play” is also something we look forward to doing after a long week of working hard to earn the money we need to support our families.
For kids under the age of eight, the word “play” takes on a whole new meaning. Play is the thing that fills their day and consumes their attention. Playtime may seem like a carefree and basic part of life for our Littles, but in reality, it is a critical piece of their growth and development. Play can also include things like crafts. It’s amazing to see little minds take flights when presents with creativity tools like colored construction paper, glue, glitter, and crayons.
Our little ones truly need to have plenty of time during their busy weeks and months as infants, “crawlers,” and toddlers to participate in unstructured play. Unstructured play is that magical time when they can pretend to be whatever they want, without input from us Big Humans. As tempting as it is for the adults in their lives to feel the need to orchestrate every moment of play, sometimes the best thing we can do as parents is just let them be. Just let them play and just let them be little.
Why is it so important for us to step back? Unstructured play is that a great place for little imaginations to run wild thanks to the imaginary creation of roles and situations during their playtime.
As children transition from the “daycare years” to school years, there are many things educators can do to keep the pattern of learning through play going. One thing they can do to stimulate growth and creativity during play is to provide their students with products, tools, and learning aids that guide young minds in a specific direction while also opening up little worlds to things, events, places, and people beyond the classroom door. Toys are bound to always inspire play, but another very important play-cultivating tool: books.
“Books are treasures that can unlock new worlds for young readers; foreign and imaginary worlds, historical worlds, and future worlds,” noted Valarie Budayr, children’s book author and publisher. “When we open up these worlds via fun and imaginative book-related play and activities, we create building blocks for creative problem-solving skills and the understanding that using our imaginations is a doorway to knowing that all things are possible.”
Books also work to feed children’s imaginations, inspire their creativity, plant seeds of learning, and instill life skills. But most of all, it gives them the ability to be amazed and filled with wonderment. Not only will encouraging a young reader to delve into a pirate book, but educators can also instigate deeper learning by showing readers how to pull stories from pages via a healthy round of pretend play based on the book.
This not only helps to instill a love of reading that will stay with them into adulthood, diving deeper into the story itself works to inspire little imaginations to go on an imaginary adventure they may not have thought of.
Even after the book has been closed, your children’s mind will be open, inspired, and plotting new ways to act out pirate scenes with the laundry basket as their trusty ship!
“Book is the seeds of curiosity that inspire us to look further, to go and discover what’s out there, whether real or imaginative,” Budayr added. “Having books as an integral part of your children’s learning, play, and imagination also helps them understand and be curious about other lives, countries, and cultures.”
How can parents get in on the action and take the book-inspired play to a new level? Look for opportunities to pull books from shelves and stories from pages. Look for events, special items, or unique facts within the pages of the book you are reading and expand upon it.
Remember the pirate story? Use that newfound wonder and curiosity to encourage your child to want to know more about the life of a pirate, what they ate, and even how they talked. Use this newly created interest act out your own pirate tale as a family, or step back and let the littlest Captain of the Ship indulge in his own imaginary missions.
So what are the things in your home or classroom that could be used to encourage healthy play with kids?
So glad you asked!
What if you could “live” inside the pages of the children’s books your family reads? What if you could enjoy the same adventures as the characters? BookJumping is taking the solitary act of reading a book and transforming it into an event that can be shared with others. It’s the process of pulling books off shelves and stories off pages. It’s making kids’ books come ALIVE by “jumping” inside the pages.
The ABC’s of BookJumping: The Best of Jump Into a Book is a concept that lets parents, caregivers, homeschoolers, and educators use the books they have on their shelves to create moments of “learning by doing” and reading all rolled into one!
This robust literacy-based e-book contains over 150 hand-picked book reviews, unique book-inspired activities and recipes, book pilgrimages, facts about classic book authors that we all know and love, and many, many reasons to spend countless hours “unplugged” and revisiting classic stories.
Making reading an adventure for kids and not a “task/ chore/requirement” is a great way to help them increase the desire to learn and keep them interested as well. Setting aside time as a family and selecting a summer reading list is a great way to not only make the idea of reading more exciting but also to involve kids in voicing their thoughts and options on what it is that they would like to read.
Re-ignite your child’s love of reading and encourage screen-free family time today.
Get the details here and reserve your copy ASAP. The ABC’s of BookJumping: The Best of Jump Into a Book will be delivered to your eReader May 12, 2020.Connect with Audrey Press on Social Media