Play is not only fun, but it also provides multiple opportunities of learning for young children. And new learnings will always lead to the development of a new skill. Hence, nurturing these skills at the right time becomes very essential. Parents can help develop these skills when they understand a little more about promoting quality play.
According to Mildred Parten’s 1932, there are six prominent stages of play. These stages are according to a child’s development and age.
From Mildred’s research, it can be understood that children during preschool years engage mostly in associative and cooperative play. Parents can grab this opportunity to teach a new skill or technique to their preschoolers. For example, Tanya wanted Sophie to learn the technique of threading beads, so she used to give her simple materials like shoelace and some large colourful beads. She would sit with one set and provide Sophie with another set and encourage Sophie to imitate her. Here it will be important to make enough material available for children to pick up and begin imitating.
During cooperative play,
children learn to share and cooperate with peers. Though today we are under the unprecedented circumstances and children cannot meet and engage with their peers, parents can participate with their children in activities that can enhance essential skills like taking turns, obeying the rules and working together. Tanya and Tanmay always participated in their children’s play and encouraged them to build huge block towers with equal chances of placing blocks one by one. And this is how even you can allow children to eventually learn to cooperate while working together. Another example of cooperative play can be setting up and participating in pretend play with your preschooler.
Parents often wonder how they can add quality to their young children’s play. Let us adopt some ways from Tanya and Tanmay‘s parenting treasure:
Parents can expose their preschoolers to a large bank of vocabulary. This will make them effective communicators through the medium of play. For example, while indulging in a scientific play the Tanmay introduces children with opposite words like light-heavy; solid-liquid; more-less; big-small etc. As parents you can guide their play by starting a conversation with them. You can balance the words in such a way that it becomes easy for them to comprehend.
Setting up playdates:
Tanya and Tanmay always used to organise frequent play dates for their children. These are social occasions arranged for children to play together. These play dates provide children with opportunities to build friendships, work in teams, set up rules and guidelines of play, keep patience and collaborate with others. Though we may not be able to organise play dates considering the current scenario, it is a good point to bear in mind for future activities.
The presence of an adult is a very important aspect of play. At preschool stage, they look up to communicate, take and share opinions and seek solutions for challenging situations. Tanya allows their children to lead and follow the rules to help them feel confident of the decisions they take during the play.
These are some ways that parents can consider for promoting quality play for their preschoolers. Since play is beneficial in a number of ways, every parent should strive to actively engage in their children’s learning process and nurture their skills in the best way possible.