Play is described as one of the best ways children can learn language and literacy skills. It is the leading source of development in the early years. We are wired to learn through movement—so when your children move, they are building the structures in their brains where more complex learning will later take place. Some books, such as Sleepy Little Yoga by Rebecca Whitford, include ways you can move along, which will keep children engaged and involved during the story. Large motor play, like this and running or climbing, also develops coordination and balance.
Notes from Story Time Category: Playing
Play is critical for the development of imagination and creative problem-solving skills. There are many different types of play such as large motor play and make believe play. Children love to climb, run, and jump. Pretending to be a dinosaur gives them opportunity to use their large motor skills and their imaginations. As you read I’m a Hungry Dinosaur with your child, encourage your child to pretend he/she is a dinosaur making a cake. You can even pretend to eat the cake at the end!
There are at least twelve types of play, and each one gives your child valuable experiences that translate into improved communication and critical thinking. As you read Ready Rabbit Gets Ready! do some actions from the book together such as building the spaceship, driving a stagecoach, or driving a motorcycle. Have fun with this make-believe play.
|Who likes to play pretend? One benefit of playing make-believe at home (besides being so fun) is that it encourages vocabulary and narrative skills, which are important pre-reading skills. The cool characters and settings that we see in picture books like Princess Super Kitty by Antoinette Porter by can inspire new ideas for playtime.
The most critical aspect of play as it relates to language development is that children learn to think symbolically. They learn that one thing, like a block, can represent another thing, like a phone. This is the same kind of thinking that allows them to understand that a picture or the written word represents the real thing. When children engage in pretend play, as seen in Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales, they are thinking symbolically.
–Tip by Erin Emerick, Youth Programming Coordinator