How to Support Learning Through Play

Italian physician, innovator and educator Maria Montessori said, “Play is the work of the child”. As parents, caregivers, and teachers, we believe this to be true.

So what is our role in this process? How can we make the experience of play meaningful to the child while not overstepping?

There are many ways adults can support learning through play.

Offer Open-Ended Toys

All toys are not created equal. Despite the loud, colorful claims of marketing experts everywhere, a great toy is not about bells and whistles.

Lose the iToys

Electronic toys, iPads, computers, gaming systems, etc., are the opposite of open-ended.

Let Children Be in Charge

As long as conditions are safe, children should make their own decisions during play. Choosing for themselves contributes to skills of independence and helps them see the connections between choices and consequences. 

Allow Spontaneity

This sense of the unknown allows the child to develop flexible thinking and adaptability. Spontaneity can be seen by some as impulsivity, but is totally normal in early childhood development.

Encourage Immersion

When children are immersed in the activity and lose track of time, they are in a state of ‘flow’.

Play With Them

Sometimes children play independently, other times with a friend or sibling. Particularly in the early years, parents can support learning through play by participating.

Say What You See

An imperative role parents have in supporting learning through play involves language reception and acquisition.

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