(StatePoint) Playtime should be fun, but who says it can’t also be beneficial to kids? From imaginative play that expands creativity to toys that develop crucial motor skills, kids’ play can be a time when learning and fun go hand in hand.
“Children don’t need to be in a classroom for quality learning to take place,” says Dr. Lise Eliot, early childhood development expert and author. “In fact, opportunities to promote mental and physical development can happen anywhere, anytime.”
Here are a few ideas for maximizing playtime:
• Make Music: Playing music can help kids be creative and expressive, as well as promote coordination. But some kids may be reluctant to participate if it feels like work. If there’s resistance to formal music education, don’t nix the idea entirely. Stock your playroom with a keyboard, tambourine and other kid-friendly instruments and let kids explore music on their own terms.
• Cool Toys: “Look for fun toys that encourage problem-solving, engage children in imaginative play and develop fine motor skills and spatial reasoning,” says Eliot.
For example, VTech’s Go! Go! Smart Wheels and Go! Go! Smart Animals capture the best of both worlds: traditional role-play infused with modern technology, for engaging, imaginative learning.
Each playset features SmartPoint locations that can be recognized by every vehicle and animal. As a vehicle or animal is rolled over a playset’s various SmartPoints, it will flash and play greetings, fun sounds, short tunes and sing-along songs for a multi-sensory learning experience that evokes kids’ imaginations.
More information can be found at www.VTechKids.com.
• Outdoor Games: For some fresh air, and at the same time to encourage hand-eye coordination and learning number fun, get outdoors to play some classic games like hopscotch, jacks or marbles. Encourage kids’ creative side, by having them come up with an idea for their own game, complete with rules and a scoring system.
When it comes to playtime, there’s no need to put learning on the back burner!