Parents, guardians and even teachers have a huge task at hand: to help kids grow up to be responsible, kind adults.
Admittedly, teaching children important lessons can be difficult on some occasions. And, caregivers can get frustrated if they feel that children aren’t learning important lessons, despite the number of times they try to teach them.
What to do? A good trick is to make sure that learning is also fun for kids. In fact, here at Pretzel Kids yoga, incorporating fun and games is our strategy to teach kids yoga - this helps ensure that kids enjoy yoga for years to come. However, yoga is not the only life tool that can be learned through play. According to Pediatrics, playing is important in development because it helps build children’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social skills.
Even toddlers and preschoolers can be taught through physical interaction, according to SheKnows.com. For example, playing with blocks hones fine motor skills, while playing musical instruments improves hand-eye coordination. Playing with dolls or a kitchen toy set, meanwhile, encourages kids to use their imagination.
As the saying goes, young children are like sponges, and they absorb information better by exploring their surroundings. Through play, kids interact more effectively with other people and the world around them.
Older Kids Also Learn Through Play
Learning through play is not just limited to preschoolers. School-aged children learn more effectively while they are having fun, too. For example, mathematics can be more appealing by fusing numerical concepts with art. And, creative kids may become interested in numbers if they are depicted as illustrations with corresponding colors. The same goes for shapes, which can be grouped together to draw simple objects like houses or boats.
Even middle-school children and highschoolers benefit from play-based learning. And, teachers seem to agree on the same thing: by letting kids actively participate in their own learning, they are more likely to retain information, as opposed to being taught the same concepts via lectures.
Beyond school lessons, parents and caregivers can also use the power of fun to help young ones understand valuable life lessons. For example, Forbes specified that playing can be used to teach children to be less materialistic. Instead of always shelling out money to entertain kids, caregivers can show them that they can have fun at little to no cost, according to Pretzel Kids Founder Robyn Parets, who has written extensively on financial matters for children. The key takeaway is that kids can learn early on that money doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness.
Fun and Games
Sports is another avenue in which kids of all ages can learn important life lessons. Joining a team will help a child develop the values of teamwork, integrity, and perseverance. Athletic and other similar pursuits can also help children and teens understand the meaning of sportsmanship and fair play. These lessons are crucial as children transition into adulthood.
Keep in mind, however, that while it’s important to make learning fun, it’s also critical for you to be on hand to help guide children. For instance, if a child “loses” a game, you can instead focus on what he or she can learn from the experience. This way the child will realize that participating and trying hard is more important than winning or losing.
Written by: Jen of FunwithJenni is a 9-year veteran of special education who have worked with challenged youth of varied ages. She finds inspiration mostly from her brother, who has autism.