“Children Learn as they Play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.”
O Fred Donaldson
As parents, it is interesting to know and watch how our children learn. Observing our child as he or she figures out something new is exciting and fascinating. For young children, every day provides a chance for new discoveries. Whilst it is very pleasurable to sit back and watch as your child learns from the world around them, as a parent it is useful to know that you can help to promote and accelerate your child’s learning and development through guided play.
Guided play is when parents get involved and participate in their child’s play to teach them new skills in an indirect and implicit way.
There are two fundamental ways in which guided play works.
- Parents can create an educational setting for children to spontaneously and freely explore on their own.
- Allow your child to play instinctively and then engage in the play with them by asking interjecting questions, making comments and providing explanations to help your child get more from their playtime.
Some examples of guided play are:
- If your child is playing ‘shops’, ask your little one what items you can buy from their shop, ask whether there are any items on special offer, write down your order and the prices on a Kids Whiteboard and ask your child to add up the total bill.
- If you are walking through the woods with your child, talk to them about nature, the different types of trees and animals that live in the woods.
There are numerous benefits of participating in guided play with your child. First and foremost, playtime is fun and healthy for both child and parent. Unlike the formal instructions that children receive in their classroom at school, guided play is subtle. Through play children learn and develop cognitive skills, physical abilities, new vocabulary, social skills and literacy skills.
With guided play, children are ultimately in control, of course parents are involved but primarily the child will take the lead. With the freedom to follow their own curiosities, your child will be more inspired to carry out the activity for longer, and will essentially get a higher level of satisfaction from what they learn, they will also find emotional elation from being in control.
Guided play is very effective. Play is the highest form of research. Play builds brain pathways for thinking, creativity, flexibility, empathy and many other lifelong skills.
We would love to hear ideas from you on the types of guided play you do with your child. Please feel free to leave us a comment.