Have you ever overheard your little in their room by themselves chatting away? Take a peek next time and you will see their imagination at work. Better yet, go join them! According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children.”
In the preschool world, we know that having the opportunity for unstructured play in the classroom promotes:
- Imagination: A stick becomes a wand, a box can be a toaster. When a child plays their mind flourishes with imagination. This kind of outside-of-the-box thinking plays a huge role in developing creative thinking.
- Socialization: As children play together they learn about their friends. They watch, imitate, model, and interact with peers as they develop their understanding of social dynamics.
- Self-regulation: Play provides important opportunities for children to practice self-regulation. They develop the part of their brain that gives them the ability to control their behaviors and emotions in response to a particular situation.
- Problem solving: Play is a fantastic way to explore problem solving. From social problem solving to analytical problem solving; play offers endless possibilities for children to encounter organic situations and develop an intuitive sense for finding solutions.
- And so much more!
When our kiddos have the chance to create their own stories, make up their own characters, and take chances in their imaginary world it promotes freedom of expression, and really helps develop social skills on their own terms.
Play isn’t just play, its learning on your preschooler’s level. They get to pretend, role-play, explore, make new friends, and try new things! By providing our preschoolers unstructured play time, we are letting them learn based on their needs.