Play and learn. This is so important, so let me say it again. Play and learn.
Science has discovered that one of the most powerful ways for someone to learn is through play. It doesn't matter if you're a newborn, toddler, teen, or even an adult. There is no better way to learn than by playing.
So what credentials do I have to make this statement? I'm a Certified Play Expert who has been trained specifically on the relationships between play and developmental growth.
So I'd like to just take a few minutes to tell you about the five major development areas that you can improve just by having fun. They are:
Here's a short video that also highlights these different areas:
Cognitive Skill Development
Cognitive skills are a person's ability to break down information and understand it. The growth of cognitive skills allows one to improve in areas such as decision making, memory, problem solving, putting together thoughts, and understanding processes.
- Brain Growth - Our genetic makeup is what forms our brains. But how they grow is based on each of our personal experiences and the environments that we live in.
- Brain Regeneration - To stimulate the health of our brain, regeneration is so important. We do this by challenging the brain, learning new things or changing things up.
Communicative Skill Development
Communication is how we get the information that we have and share it with others in a way that they can understand.
- Receptive Language - Receptive language is our ability to understand information that is presented to us. This could be verbal, body language, written, etc.
- Expressive Language - Expressive language is our ability to properly relay information in a way that others will understand. Again, this could be verbal, body language, written etc.
Physical Skill Development
Physical skills are how we become stronger, accomplish tasks, and even discover the world around us.
- Fine Motor Skills - Fine motor skills is what allows us to do small things. It's also referred to as hand/eye coordination. These small muscle movements can be things like writing, drawing and small muscle movement.
- Gross Motor Skills - Gross motor skills are related to building strength, shifting weight, and balance. Think of all the things that you can do to play and learn here.
Sensory Skill Development
This is when we are engaged with our senses. This can be sight, sound, touch, taste, or smell.
- Sensory Preferences - Each person develops senses differently and we all favor one over the rest.
- Sensory Processing - Sensory processing is how we understand what is happening when we are using our senses.
Social and Emotional Skill Development
Social and emotional abilities are important because it's how we interact and express ourselves with others as well as how we manage our emotions.
- Intrapersonal - This is how we manage ourselves within and how we manage our emotions. How well we do this relates to our behavior.
- Interpersonal - Interpersonal is how we take our intrapersonal skills and relay them externally to others. This is what allows us to foster new relationships and will have an impact on how those relationships form.
Back to Play and Learn
So at the beginning of this article, I said that you play and learn. So how do we develop these areas by playing? Here are some toys or games that can be used to develop each of these five areas:
- Cognitive - many baby and toddler toys, games such as memory and scrabble, strategic games, flash cards. Almost any toy that involves a learning curve is promoting cognitive growth or regeneration.
- Communicative - board games are an incredible way to improve communication skills.
- Physical - Balls, jump ropes, hopscotch are just a few things to help with gross motor skills. Arts and crafts and drawing are a great way to develop fine motor skills
- Sensory - Putty, Play-Doh, or playing in the sand are great ways to explore your sensory skills. Many games help with sensory as well.
- Social/Emotional - Games are incredible. They help in many areas and social/emotional development is now different.
As you can see, play is an incredible way to develop yourself or help a child develop. And I don't care how old you are. It is a proven fact that adults that play lead a happier life than adults that do not.
So learn to play to play and learn. As far as science is concerned, there's no better way to develop than to play and learn.