The Importance of Play in Learning

We believe in the power of purposeful play. Our North Tampa Explorers engage in play-based, hands-on learning activities in intentionally designed spaces. Through this, children create, explore, conquer their fears, build their confidence, and find joy in challenging themselves. Play is a vital component of future success! Take a look at some of the long-term benefits of learning through play.

Long-Term Benefits
In the 1980s, a 20-year study began in Jamaica that explored the importance of learning through play. Toddlers who lived in poor neighborhoods were visited once a week by trained health workers, who engaged in learning through play and showed the toddlers’ mothers how to play and interact with their children in ways that promote cognitive and emotional development. After 20 years, these children were found to have performed better in school and have better social skills, as well as earning 25% more than the control group.

Cognitive Skills
Through play, your child is equipped to communicate, comprehend, imagine, focus, and exert self-control. They practice critical thinking and problem-solving skills, predict and discern what’s coming up next, and learn how to negotiate and compromise. As they grow and begin to enjoy puzzles or board games, they will also learn the importance of playing fairly and winning and losing gracefully!

Physical Abilities
Children begin to exercise their physical abilities and challenge their own limits. They enhance their fine motor skills as they build castles out of Legos, paint masterpieces, and pour water and sand from one container to another. They build their hand-eye coordination skills through simple games of catch or soccer and develop locomotor skills as they jump rope, dance to their favorite songs, or crawl through tunnels on the playground.

Increased Vocabulary
Through social interaction with both peers and adults, children develop their linguistic abilities and lay an excellent foundation for literacy. They make and practice new sounds, learn new words to describe and explain their actions, and exercise their imagination through storytelling. Children also learn how to speak clearly, explain rules, and communicate what they want.

According to UC Davis Health, the best playtime activities for language development are make-believe games centered around everyday tasks such as cooking and shopping. Another study discovered that a play-based curriculum also had “a positive influence on the acquisition of grammar.”

Social Skills
Play is a wonderful relationship builder! Children learn how to cooperate, take turns, share, speak for themselves, have a two-way conversation, resolve conflicts, control their impulses, and practice empathy. They begin to understand others’ feelings based on their verbal and non-verbal cues. All of these skills are crucial for children to make and sustain healthy, positive friendships.

As children use their imagination during playtime, they learn to utilize their creativity in new ways. They create their own worlds and even build on each other’s pretend worlds, which helps them become flexible, intuitive, and adaptable! By empowering our children to be creative as they play, they learn how to experiment, test theories, and take chances. They are equipped to grow into creative, compassionate problem solvers who make the world a better place.

At North Tampa Christian Explorers, a preschool in Wesley Chapel, we believe it’s never too early to start fostering your child’s sense of curiosity and wonder. From the design of our indoor and outdoor classrooms to the interactions and experiences that take place on our campus, everything we do is intentional. We partner with you to provide the very best early experiences for your little ones. Want to learn more about what makes us different? Contact us today.