How Kids Learn Through Play Successfully

I am a mother of three boys, a teenager, a school-aged, and a toddler.  Three childhood stages, different parenting styles, different identi...

I am a mother of three boys, a teenager, a school-aged, and a toddler.  Three childhood stages, different parenting styles, different identities, personalities, characters, likes, hobbies - each of them are unique.  But if there's one thing in common among my children is they all LOVE playing.

My teenager vividly recalls up to this day how happy he was during his childhood because he remembers all the times we played together.  Those were his HAPPY times.  That's why I repeated this with my second and now enjoying play time with my toddler.

Play is important in my children's lives.  It's when they are happiest.  It's when they are most imaginative.  It's when they all learn and discover things around them.  Play is the time when they develop not only their motor skills but also their critical thinking and creativity.  I highly believe that pre-school PLAY with their loved ones plays an important role in developing their social skills, intellectual capabilities, and self-expression.
I learned from a few parenting workshops I've attended before that kids should be given time to have unstructured play - this means letting them play on their own.  What then is our role as parents during this?  Of course it doesn't mean that we let them play unsupervised.  As parents we need to ensure that they play autonomously in a safe and stimulating environment to make learning through play successful.

Damien loves singing, dancing, running, hopping, exploring and of course playing.  He needs all the support and unrestrained play time he needs as a toddler.  Here are some tips on how play time could be successful for your little ones.
How Can Kids Learn Through Play Successfully:
1. Provide a safe play area.  We don't want a wet floor our little ones could slip and bump heads.  We don't want glass home decors to be around when they play and broken to pieces which could cut them nor sharp table edges which could possible cause injuries on our little ones.  Make sure we keep the play are dry and cushioned.  You may use play mats available in stores and online.  Reserve those glass home decors for some other years ahead or areas out of their reach. Cover table edges with tapes or foams (if DIY) or purchase online for table edge safety covers.  Keep sharp and small objects away to prevent injuries or accidental swallowing or insertion in their noses, ears, etc.  Electric fan blades could cause accidental injury, purchase a fan cover as well.  Keep the area fit for uninterrupted play.

2. Give age-appropriate toys.  Two early childhood development experts who spoke during the workshops I attended both said that kids should be provided with toys which will challenge them but not too much to frustrate them nor discourage them.  That's why it's important to check the age appropriateness labels on the toy packages when you purchase toys.  Experts also shared that it's important not to present over-stimulating toys to children.  Expose toddlers to 4-6 toys at a time.

3. Encourage Dramatic/Pretend Play.  Experts say, dramatic or pretend plays is important in the social or emotional and physical development of the child.  It is when they make sense of the world when they act out and copy what they see around them.  My eldest and I used to do role playing by pretending he's my dad and I was his baby.  He copies how I care for him and it's a really good exercise also for parents to see how our children see us as their parents.

4. Wear clothes and diaper which don't restrain movements.  The last thing we want to happen during their play is to get interrupted just because their movements are restrained due to their clothes or the diaper that they use.  For diaper, my toddler uses Pampers Baby Dry because it's Less Lawlaw with its new and improved magic gel channels which quickly absorbs wee-wee and distributed evenly.  When our little ones are uncomfortable because of a diaper's poor absorption quality, they become irritable and their movements are restricted.  This then results to lesser happy play time and lesser time to learn.  With Pampers Baby Dry, Damien is comfortable and happy, making movements during singing and dancing more active, so Go Galaw lang si baby.  When go galaw ang baby, more fun and more learning!
5. Always be present during play.  It's easy to say na nakakapag-bonding tayo with our little ones just because we are physically with them.  But when we say "present" dapat tayo din unrestrained play time with our kids.  Set aside work, keep your mobile phones and social media away.  Our kids need quality time with us, real play time with us.  I know you may be excited to post a snippet of your play time with your kids on either FB or IG, delay that and enjoy your play time (as in down on your knees kind of play with a red cape around your neck, a mask on your face or a crown on your head pa!).
With all these things, apart from their learning, your little one will surely remember how fun and happy their childhood was because you let them play and be kids at the time they need to be.  As parents, let's give importance to unrestrained physical play because it's through play that they learn a lot and develop skills they need to be equipped as they grow up.

Instagram: @PampersPH

*This blog is in partnership with Pampers. All shared insights are my own.

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Mommy Practicality is a home and lifestyle blog that's about positive, informative, 
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