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Just Playing – Author Unknown

When I’m building in the block area. Please don’t say I’m “Just playing.” For, you see, I’m learning as I play about balance and shapes.

When I’m getting all dressed up, setting the table, caring for pretend babies. Don’t get the idea I’m “Just playing.” For, you see, I’m learning as I play. I may be a mother or father someday.

When you see me up to my elbows in shaving cream, paint, or molding and shaping clay. Please don’t say I’m “Just playing.” For you see, I’m expressing myself and being creative. I may be an artist or an inventor someday.

When you see me sitting in a chair “Reading” to an imaginary audience, please don’t laugh and think I’m “Just playing.” For, you see, I’m learning as I play. I may be a teacher someday.

When you see me combing the bushes for bugs or packing my pockets with choice things I find. Don’t pass it off as “Just play.” For, you see, I’m learning as I play. I may be a scientist someday.

When you see me engrossed in a puzzle or some “plaything” at my school. Please don’t feel the time is wasted in “Play.” I’m learning to solve problems and concentrate. I may be a business person someday.

When you see me pretend or really cooking and tasting foods. Please don’t think that because I enjoy it, it is “Just play.” I’m learning to follow directions and see differences. I may be a chef someday.

When you see me learning to skip, hop, run and move my body. Please don’t say I’m “Just playing.” For, you see, I’m learning as I play. I’m learning how my body works. I may be a doctor, nurse, or athlete someday.

When you ask me what I’ve done at preschool today, and I say, “I just played.” Please don’t misunderstand me. For, you see, I’m learning as I play. I’m learning to enjoy and be successful in my work. I’m learning to love learning.

Importance of Playing

You may ask your child, “What did you do today?” They may answer with, “I just played.” Parents should not underestimate the role of play in learning. Children are provided with a balance of ample time to engage in self-directed play as well as teacher-initiated learning activities. Child-driven play contributes to the child’s cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical development. Playing is how children begin to understand their world. Children develop critical thinking skills necessary to ask questions and figure out how things work.

Through playing, a child will acquire many of the necessary skills that they will subsequently use for successful learning. The skills that a child develops and strengthens through playing include language development, problem-solving, negotiation, and sequencing skills. Play provides a child with situations that will foster cooperation. As children socialize during playtimes, they will learn to express their ideas and listen to the views expressed by others.

To encourage the importance of play, we like to show the value of playing and talk to the children about their play, such as “I like the way you’re playing.” We like to create a playful atmosphere by providing space and materials to play with. We help when play seems to be stuck. When there is arguing or misuse of toys, we will offer a new toy or suggest a new direction or experience. We supervise playtimes to keep it safe. We check our equipment for safety and monitor the physical risks children may set for themselves. There may be conflicts as children learn to share, negotiate, and increase their communication skills. We guide the children to solve their own problems. Children learn important skills when they play, either alone or in groups.

What Is the Power of Play?

Play is how children learn naturally, and it is as important for children’s development as eating and sleeping. We all enjoy leisure activities, hobbies, and play. We use our weekends and vacations to participate in sports, engage in arts and crafts, visit places of interest, play online games, and whatever we think of as “fun.” If it is not ‘work,’ some people may consider it as ‘play.’ Playing is not solely the domain of children.

Children learn a variety of social skills through play. Playing stimulates brain growth in children at the most critical time in their development. Playing lays down the foundation for later learning. Parents should not be concerned at all. When children are playing, they not only learn fundamental concepts that are the basis for later academic learning, but they’re also learning social skills. For example, building toy blocks is a math experience as much as it helps them develop concepts of shape, size, length, and location. And with art, when they’re mixing colors, they’re learning hand-eye coordination and exercising their imagination and creativity. Even if a child is outside bouncing a ball, children are still learning. They’re learning to count, learning about shapes and colors.

Children learn to share ideas and experiences. They learn to follow the rules or to invent their own. They test their physical abilities and make scientific discoveries. They test whether branches will carry their weight, learn at what point a tower will over-balance, solve a puzzle and show patience. Children are also able to play different roles. A child who just visited a doctor will give a doll “shots.” Sometimes they can be the dog or the “Mom.” They can play as if they are going shopping, driving a car, or ordering take-out. In fact, they can do anything they have seen an adult do and practice with language and try an assortment of roles. It is all about expanding the imagination.