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For a child, what’s more fun than the freedom of running around, playing with blocks, or other open-ended toys? You may love seeing your little one play and hearing their happy laughter. But, did you know that it is one of the most important aspects of child development?


Educators around the world have found through research that meaningful play can help enrich the learning experience. It could also help nurture key skills like expression, experimentation, teamwork, and curiosity!

Play & Learn

8 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Learn Through Play

Play is the foundation of several child development stages in terms of creativity, intellectual reasoning, language development, emotional development, and regulation.

Listed below are some tips and activities to encourage your little one to learn through play.

Let Things Get Messy

Most children love to get messy with sand, water, and whatnot! Messy play is, in fact, a fantastic opportunity to promote the foundations of scientific learning. It also helps in key child development stages like learning self-confidence and improving fine motor skills.

Scooping, pouring, digging, and sifting sand or water will teach your little one how things work. In addition, it will help build their muscles and hand-eye coordination. When messy play is engaged in with a little pal, it becomes about learning teamwork, social skills, and most importantly, sharing.

Have Some Fun with Play Dough

Squeezing, shaping, and squishing playdough or its alternatives is one of the best child development activities. Experimenting with playdough strengthens your little one’s fingers in preparation for a lifetime of writing, sketching, and colouring. It also promotes creativity and improves hand-eye coordination.

For a fine-motor exercise, you could add some beads to the playdough or make them thread beads through long spaghetti-like strands of dough for some extra play value! You could also show them some pictures and ask them to mould the dough accordingly for another learning opportunity.

Role Play and Dress-Up Go a Long Way

Children also develop their mental and emotional intelligence by creating elaborate, imaginative worlds. You can help simulate this fantastic learning and development activity by letting your little one put up a tiny skit for you.

You can give them some dress-up clothes and props like toy doctor’s kits, chefs’ hats, kitchen sets, and let their imagination run wild! Dressing-up and role-play help children make more sense of the adult world.

It also piques their interest in various topics, including self-care and self-dressing, while boosting their social skills. When they’re given an opportunity to act out scenes and express themselves, it can increase their perception of others’ perspectives.

Play With Dolls, Figures, and Open-Ended Toys

Providing your child with characters they can hold and feel, encourages them to develop their social play. Not only does it stimulate their imagination, but it could be helpful to help them learn about other child development milestones like expression and the labelling of feelings.

Open-ended toys are an excellent opportunity for your child to learn through play. Playing with building blocks, rainbow pebbles, jigsaws, and shape sorters help lay the foundation of spatial thinking. These toys spark your child’s imagination and promote the concepts of order, recognition of shapes, sizes, or colors, and logical reasoning.

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Bust Out Those Moves and Sing-Along

Lullabies and nursery rhymes have been children’s favourites for years, and it’s all for a good reason! Child development activities like singing help develop language and help form the roots of literacy skills. Music can also help your child learn basic mathematical skills like counting.

Dancing helps them recognize rhythms while refining their listening and perception capabilities. In addition to coordination, dancing promotes the development of flexibility and strength.

Let Your Child Be Your Handy Helper

You can easily involve your little one in what you do throughout the day if you don’t have time to supervise them while they play. This is a great learning and development opportunity for your child, as they get to know more about the world around them.

Tasks that you classify as mundane, like cooking tea or folding clothes, could be super fun for your child! For example, cooking or even pretend cooking combines the elements of sensory play, home safety, following techniques, and mathematical concepts.

Story Time is the Best Time

Reading to your child is a great bonding experience and helps instil a love for books in them. It also helps develop listening skills, while books with rhymes and repetition could help your child learn how to memorize things.

You can also encourage your child to turn the pages and follow the words as you read them with their fingers. You can ask them open-ended questions about the story, like what they think will happen next, to engage their imagination and sense of curiosity. Doing so will also help increase their attention to literature and help them build their vocabulary.

Take The Play Outdoors

Ignite the fire of child development through play by adding the fuel of outdoor play! Playing outside is healthy and helps inculcate a sense of respect towards Mother Nature.

It sows the seeds of biology into your child and helps them become more inquisitive and independent.  There’s also a lot of free space outside for your child to run, jump, or slide! These are all child development activities that foster muscle development and inculcate fine motor skills.

These activities tap into your child’s compulsion to move and increase their confidence. Gross motor skills also receive an excellent boost while playing outdoors, while developing your child’s resilience through risk-taking.

Final Words

Learning is not just a formal activity that takes place within the four walls of a classroom! Learning through play is one of the foundation stones of child development and gives your child an opportunity to experiment, question, and imagine things that pique their interest.

Play could actually hold the key to early childhood learning. By selecting some of the fun child development activities listed above, you can excite your child about learning or developing something new through play!

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