Children keep themselves occupied while playing hide and seek, solving puzzles, or drawing, don’t they? Even though these activities might seem like just fun and games, there is more to them than meets the eye.
It might not be evident at first, but children simply learn through play, whether they’re playing independently or with other kids. What are the positive effects of learning through play?
Cognitive Benefits Of Learning Through Play
Cognitive development refers to growth and change in mental abilities such as thinking, understanding and reasoning.
Through play, kids develop their critical thinking skills, discover the world around them, and reinforce their memory.
Activities that engage a child’s mind are suitable, and ones that can also be played inside and without making too much of a mess are even better! One such activity is doing a jigsaw puzzle, which has a wide range of cognitive benefits for children.
Let’s take a closer look at some of them.
Developing Problem Solving Skills
Kids are hands-on learners. They gain new knowledge through playing with objects and people.
For example, when children are doing jigsaw puzzles, they need to figure out whether various pieces fit together or not.
Jigsaw puzzles encourage your child to think logically. Through this activity, kids develop their problem-solving skills, which are vital for good child development. On top of that, they learn how to break large tasks into smaller ones.
Younger kids learn to recognize shapes when they’re doing jigsaw puzzles. Puzzles come in a variety of forms.
Therefore, when kids try to complete a puzzle, they learn how to differentiate pieces. Shape recognition will come in handy when kids start learning letters and numbers.
To identify a particular letter, they need to be able to recognize shapes first. Puzzles help kids develop this skill as pieces need to be recognized and sorted before being put together.
Solving jigsaw puzzles is a great way to improve a child's memory. Puzzles keep your kid’s mind occupied. But how do they work?
To complete the puzzle, children need to look at the image on the puzzle box. They look back and forth at the picture to find the matching pieces.
Kids need to remember the size, color, and shape of different components to assemble the whole puzzle. There is no doubt that this activity helps to boost their memory.
It is safe to say that doing jigsaw puzzles plays a vital role in the child’s cognitive development.
It is a fun game, but it is also a great learning tool that encourages the development of problem-solving skills and shapes recognition, and helps children develop their memory skills.
Developing Social Skills Through Play
When children play with adults or with other kids, they need to know how to cooperate. Whether sharing toys or completing a puzzle together, children develop their social skills through play.
They learn how to negotiate, bond, follow the rules, and interact appropriately with other kids. When children are playing together, they are working towards a shared goal.
Play teaches kids leadership and group skills. These skills are essential in building friendships.
Children learn how to socialise and by the time they enter school, they already know how to interact with their peers and work in a group learning environment.
Emotional Development Through Play
Even though it might be challenging to recognize, play is vital for a child's emotional development.
Through play and interacting with their peers, they learn to process their emotions, develop empathy, and cope with stress or anxiety.
When kids are having fun with other children or their parents, they experience joy and happiness.
On the other hand, when a child loses a game, they learn how to process sadness, frustration, or anger.
Play is also significant when it comes to coping with fear. Through play, children understand that fear is normal and learn to overcome it.
On top of that, play is essential for building confidence and encouraging the development of children’s self-esteem.
Developing Language Skills Through Play
Apart from having fun and interacting with their peers, kids also develop vital speech and language skills during play time.
Even if your children are playing alone, they might talk to themselves or their toys. This activity has an enormous impact on their speech development.
When kids play with their parents or peers, they are learning to communicate their needs, feelings, and thoughts.
On top of that, they develop their language skills and extend their vocabulary. Pretend-play is especially helpful as children practice new speech and try to understand others.
Also, kids hone listening skills through playing with their peers and adults. It’s an essential part of developing communication skills and it enables children to learn from their peers.
Building Creativity Through Play
There is no doubt that play helps to boost children’s imagination. Kids come up with their games or pretend worlds.
Children can play with an object and pretend that it’s something else. For instance, a stick can be a magic wand, and their parents’ phone book can become a brand new smartphone.
Kids pretend to be superheroes or magic fairies who can save the world. They make their own rules and try to adapt them to have fun.
Through imaginative play, they learn about the world. These activities help to build kids’ creativity.
During play, they come up with new ways of doing the thing, which allows developing their creative thinking skills. Imaginative games are fun for kids, but it’s also very important for a child's development.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of understanding of the power of play as a foundation for building essential life skills in childhood.
Some people even think that play is frivolous and takes time away from actual learning.
They believe that unless children are fastened to their place and listening to their parents or teacher, they are not learning anything useful. However, this is far from the truth. There is more to playing than just having fun.
Kids develop their cognitive, social, and emotional skills while playing games. Whether running or solving puzzles, they take on challenges and try new things.
On top of that, they learn to build connections with others, navigate relationships, resolve conflicts, and share.