Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Parenting: Power of Play

My husband and I strongly agree that children's Play is powerful stuff. When I picked up the book "Einstein never used flash cards" from the library I didn't know it would provide so much information about the power of play.

Although rather stock full of scientific studies and anecdotal stories (not exactly my favorite), it does give excellent reasons why playing with your children is much more beneficial than quizzing them with facts and flashcards. Children are truly amazing little beings that are wired to learn. In two to three years they've mastered a whole language {some even more than one}. Through play they learn social skills and math skills without even trying. Just watch your child sort toys or put them into lines... apparently that's basic math!

The Authors of the book, Kathy and Roberta, also offer reassurance to parents that they don't need "the next hottest learning toy or class". We don't need to feel guilty if other kids seem ahead of our own because they've memorized a bunch of facts. True learning is figuring things out through play and problem solving. Giving our children our time and also the freedom to play is essential to raising emotionally strong, self aware, empathetic children who have the social skills to work with others.

Instead of those fancy flashcards, they suggest spending time reading to our children in a dialogic way. Pause on occasion to ask a question about the story or characters.  Make mistakes on purpose while reading aloud: I tried this with Little Man and he laughed so hard correcting me. It was the funnest story time we've had in a while. I tend to just read straight through, forgetting that these moments can be interactive.

So I'm off to play with my two Little Misters and let them take us where ever their imaginations will go.

On a related note. I found this article about the 5 best toys of all time. I might start thinking twice about spending money at the toy store... these really do seem to be the Little Misters all time favorite toys, besides balloons and rocks!

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