Background for Early Childhood Learning
Additionally, young children learn by doing. Doing that involves using and developing all of their ‘intelligences’. Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner was the first to introduce multiple intelligences to the educational community. Read an overview of the Intelligences.
Doing implies moving. Moving gives children the opportunity to hone their proprioception, which has been called the 6th sense. Yes, there really is a sixth sense! Proprioception is an awareness. An awareness of your body’s position in space. Plus an awareness or sense of your body’s movement. It’s created by nerves in our connective tissues. Without it, we couldn’t stand up let alone run around and move! Hence why it is very important for children to get ample opportunity to move. Moving helps them develop this very important sense.
Easy Ways of Enriching Play…
Consider grouping toys into themes! Grouping toys is an easy way of enriching play. Learning is enhanced when toys are arranged by theme. How? It allows them to discover similar concepts using different ‘intelligences’. (See the overview on Intelligences above.)
Examples of Themes for Enriching Play…
- Farm Life—animals, gardens
- My Body—Inside & Out/Alike & Different
- Transportation—Cars, Boats, Trains, Planes
- Once Upon A Time—Castles & Dragons
- When I Grow Up
- The Seasons*
- Simple Machines
- Theatre Productions
Seeing Is Believing….
Another easy way of enriching play is by adding visuals. By visuals that includes both photos and fabric scenes. Visuals help fully immerse kiddos into themes. You can get great pictures from newspapers, magazines—even old calendars. Visuals WILL initiate questions and comments. Voila! Further adding to your kiddo’s language skills plus increasing their cognitive development.
Remember the above on senses? Why not add something for their listening pleasure? There are many early childhood ed cassettes or CDs that will accompany your themes. No need to purchase either. You can find free, online options and there’s always my favorite: libraries! Libraries are a great, low cost resource for many things.
To summarize: The 2 easy ways of enriching PLAY for your child:
1 Add visuals to their learning environment
2 Include toys within the theme’s framework
Yours in PLAY!
* Look to Play & Grow’s Go PLAY Activity Cards Go PLAY Activity Cards to give you ALL you need —and more—for enriching PLAY!