Why Play is Important

Instead of doing our traditional schoolwork yesterday we took a trip to the Providence Children's Museum.   There was some debate in our house as to whether or not my oldest son was too old to enjoy it or not (which I found funny since he was the one that brought it up and asked if we could go there).  I knew it would be a day of learning through play.

Most people assume if they're playing they're just having fun but since I'm not teaching anything they aren't learning.  That is just not true.  Kids learn through exploration, experience, and play.  Play is immensely important to kids of all ages and here's why (taken directly off all the signs at the museum!):

Play encourages independence
Evan did not want to play with these
blocks because they were hard and he
had no ideas what to do with them 

He eventually had a great time making Thor's
hammer-- double sided!

Play is about the process of discovery
Alec and Evan spent a lot of time playing with the whirlpool 

They tried making it larger, putting things through it
draining it out

Finding out what happens when it clogs 

Through play kids learn to keep trying 
Evan started building towers with these blocks

and tried to make it higher

And higher 

And challenged himself to use EVERY block on the table 

Throughout play kids learn to focus on problems they want to solve
Ian must have spent 1/2 the day building new and different dams to try and stop the water;
here he asked Alec to build a dam below his dam to see if two dams would work 

Through play kids learn about different ways to use materials
A magnetic table and beads on a string; what a fun way to make pictures! 

Play is creative
Building with  Jovo blocks 

Ian started with a submarine and ended up making a
very neat looking structure 

With the submarine base and a star shaped house on top it went on the display shelf 

Play is imagining possibilities 
building a house with Magna tiles 

Alec decided to build arched roof ends 

Kids learn by seeing what they can make happen
Using the same Wedgits blocks as Evan Ian decided to turn them on their sides! 

Play helps kids learn, grow, imagine, explore, solve problems, make choices, take risks, create and try new things
"Look mom I can balance and practice skate boarding moves!"  He loved this balance board
He tried to jump and twist, jump and criss cross his feet, and spin around lifting weight off of one foot

Through play kids learn to make predictions 
Making a trap for the smoke/ fog Ian tried to predict what would happen before he locked each piece in 

Through play kids learn to collaborate with friends
Playing with pattern blocks 

Through play kids learn to describe and explain
With a board between us blocking what we were building, Alec tried to give me directions to
make the same design he was making; we came pretty close and he soon learned how
hard it was to describe actions and what he was doing only using words. 

Through play kids learn to ask questions
"what will happen if I let all the water out slowly?" 

Through play kids learn to challenge themselves
This climber has never been open on all the trips we've made to this museum.
The kids were thrilled it was open today and could not wait to climb up and down it over
and over and over. 

At the very top 

Through play kids learn to be observers, teachers, and  listeners 
Looking at the picture on the wall, Alec tried to recreate the image shown 

He was able to make this snake-- here is a similar set on Amazon.

Through play kids make connections 

Ian found these unique building blocks and had fun
just making up a design 

Then showed me that there was a purple plastic
one (used at the top of this creation) that
looked just the swastika sign we learned about
when studying world war II; what an abstract
Linking up with:

Strawberry Butterscotch


  1. A thousand times, YES! Play is the work of childhood.

    1. It really is and yet it's just assumed that by age 8 or so they should be over it and there is nothing further to be learned from play. It's kind of sad how quickly play is being taken away


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