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Learning Through Play: Ideas for Teaching

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Did you know play is a form of learning?  Learning through play is actually a critical part of the development of a child’s brain.

Learning through Play

In college, I took several child development classes. What happens in childhood is more important than we tend to believe. This is a time that shapes their future. Anyone who has studies and kind of early childhood education will understand this.

We do a lot of hands-on learning games in our house, this is a form of play as well!  Anytime you can incorporate play into the learning process it will really help kids learn more.  Plus the learning will stick more, too!   My kids really respond well to learning through play and we all have fun while still learning.

I have so many posts dedicated to different learning games that I thought I would share  some of our favorite resources and ideas.  But first, let me tell you a little about the importance of learning through play.

Importance of Learning Through Play

When young children play they learn so many things!  When building with blocks or Legos they learn problem-solving skills. When playing house or with dolls they practice social interactions. These interactions can be strengthened by playing with peers, too. Playful learning develops creativity, coordination, curiosity, and exploration.

Children develop cognitive thinking skills, improve fine motor skills, and build confidence. They even learn skills of self-regulation and dealing with big emotions when things do not go their way.

There are many types of play, through. Young children need a lot of free play experiences: dancing, running, skipping, jumping, climbing, digging in the sand, active play, and focused play, dramatic play and role-playing. Never underestimate the role of play and the importance of play in a child’s life.

But I am going to focus more on the types of play you can use for learners in your classroom or homeschool. Any type of formal lesson can be turned into a game or activity for kids of all ages!


Supplies for Play-Based Learning

Learning Games and Manipulatives– This post is a list of some of our favorite hands-on toys and learning games. There are so many amazing tools to help make teaching in a classroom or homeschool more engaging.

Hands-On Math Games & Activities:

Math has been our favorite method of playful learning. I think this is because it tends to be a harder one for me and for my kids. I’m always seeking ways to make learning math more engaging.  Following are a whole bunch of hands-on math games and activities.

Also, be sure to check out my math book: Math Art and Drawing Games for Kids.

Counting to 100– a fun way to help kids practice counting
Playing Store & Play Money– teaches adding and budgeting
Place the Digits Math Game– learning place values
How Many Pennies?  Weighing with pennies


Reading, Spelling, & Language Arts Games

These activities are great for literacy skills, developing vocabulary, and language development.

Fishing for Words– playing in your bath tub with magnetic letters!
Broken Hearts Language Learning– matching homonyms, synonyms and antonymns
Sight Word and Spelling Fun- a few fun ideas to practice words

Science Learning Games

Also, check out my Science book! Science Art and Drawing Games for Kids
Food Chain Game– free printable game
I hope you will find some engaging ideas from this list for your lessons and instruction!  Remember to allow for more child-led learning and play in your teaching.

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  1. Every single night my four year old asks if we can have game night! I’ll have to sneak in some of these games with our regular routine. We’re getting in a rut a bit lately. It’ll be good to have something new!

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