You already know how important “fun” is in the toolkit of parenting if you’ve ever tried to hold a children attention for an extended period of time. Kids are often more apt to pay attention to what’s exciting, funny, enjoyable and entertaining. And, of course, one of the main avenues through which kids experience fun is play.
However, play is about more than just fun and games. It serves an important purpose in childhood development. Play gives kiddos a chance to engage with different environments, create imaginative scenarios, learn to socialize with others and practice important skills they’ll carry throughout their lives.
As Quartz reports, research has shown how crucial play is to helping kids forge a foundation in “social, emotional and academic learning.”
Here’s more on the role of fun through play in kids’ classes and activities.
Different Types of Fun & Play for Kids
Since adults generally operate on schedules, it’s tempting to apply the same models to children. However, it’s important to carve out plenty of time for free play — explored independently or during fun classes for kids — as well.
Allowing kids to be themselves and have fun gives them the blank slate they need to work on a variety of crucial life skills. According to Highlights, here are some of the ways in which free play helps kids develop:
- They are able to explore their immediate surroundings, whether playing indoors, in the back yard, in a park or on a playground.
- Children are able to experiment to see what works and what fails, which helps them better understand cause-and-effect — and learn to solve problems, even when they’re tricky.
- Young learners are able to unleash their creativity as they transform ordinary environments and objects into fantastical creations and manipulate the items at their disposal.
- The opportunity to play in class or group settings helps kiddos learn to socialize, take turns, lead, follow and set boundaries with others.
How Classes Facilitate Children’s Fun Play
Participating in classes, toddlers and young children can reap many of the benefits of free play within the context of a slightly more structured environment. For instance, experienced leaders who know how to engage and prompt children while giving them freedom to be themselves can facilitate quality classes.
The beauty of making these classes fun is kids often aren’t aware they’re working on such important skills. As UNICEF notes, kids don’t consciously tell themselves they’re now going to learn something when they choose to play — they simply move toward what is entertaining and what piques their curiosity and sense of adventure. This allows them to practice a wide variety of skills without needing to be cognizant of what areas they’re improving upon at any given time.
So, when a class leader conducts kids through a simple dance routine of stepping and clapping, the children are all the while gaining motor skills and learning basic counting and rhythm. A class leader taking a group of kiddos on a sensory walk through nature is helping them gain a deeper understanding of Mother Earth, as well as helping the explorers learn to tune into new situations.
Fun plays a huge role in classes for kids because it makes them want to keep learning and growing and practicing their new skills as they develop. But that’s only important for parents to know; children can just focus on playing and joining in the tasks set forth by the class leaders.
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