The title of this article seems strange to some parents and educational institutions even to some of the teachers themselves, which firmly believe that learning is all about getting good grades in school. So the process of teaching must be done to get and try to get good grades. That doesn’t mean that we, as a teacher, teach our students unseriously, but how we do teach them simply by playing and engaging some activities.
The concept of learning by playing is not new. In fact, for ages, children have been taught highly complex concepts by means of games and activities. Such games and activities enhance personal learning and development that no book can provide. It is true that a school provides education, but knowledge is subjective and can be increased and improved by means of some very simple methods such as playing games. There are so many things that you have your kids do, without realizing the kind of message it is imparting to them, or the kind of effect it has on their minds. Playing particularly has a positive effect on kids and helps develop their personality and skills.
What Children Learn By Playing
There are some advantages that the kids can get when they learn by playing:
- By being allowed to play, children are free to explore their surroundings and develop experiences that are unique to them. Remember that experience is the best teacher.
- They learn to take control and are capable of making their own decisions.
- They learn to respect rules and the choice of others around them.
- Children learn how to use their imagination in playing and this helps develop their creativities.
- Interactions with others help develop communication skills and aid personality development.
- The involvement of parents/teachers in the entire process helps strengthen the bond between the child and parent, as children learn how to share their experiences with their parents/teachers.
The Examples of How Children Learn by Playing
In teaching procedure text to the X grade, we can ask them to go to the canteen in order to make them doing some activities related to the materials being discussed. This activities sound great and fun to them. It seems that they are playing while learning something.
- Board games such as Monopoly teach children how to use money wisely at a young age. It teaches them how to carry out transactions, and how to make decisions for themselves. Games such as scrabble help children strategize and score more points by placing appropriate letters in the right spots.
- In the digital age, a lot of educational computer games and video games have been designed to teach children basic concepts such as strategy, the importance of teamwork, along with enhancing focus and concentration. Some schools in the US have started allowing kids to design video games that help them learn in the process of designing.
- In the classroom, children are also taught the power of healthy communication, of group effort, and the benefits of team building. It teaches children not only to function as a group, but to lead and manage large groups of people, thereby helping them develop leadership skills.
- In activities like camping, children are taught the importance of nature, and the value of having the comfort of a home and a bed, when they are roughing it up outdoors.
Encouraging Learning by Playing
In order to encourage learning by playing, it is important that kids be allowed to learn in their own way. There are some considerations that we must see before deciding the playing that will be done:
- The activities and games introduced to children should be age-appropriate.
- The activity that kids are allowed should be divided into structured and unstructured play. This means, say for 30 minutes, an adult should be guiding kids in their activities, and for another 30 minutes, the child should be allowed to do what he pleases, i.e. free play.
- They should be allowed to be in control of the situation, even during structured play. This helps them develop their own methods of working on different activities.
- A child should be allowed to indulge in play for as long as he wants to, and should not be forced to sit through a period of play just because it has been allotted. What is meant to be a fun activity to aid learning should not get frustrating for the child.
The idea of enabling children to learn by playing can be implemented in different manners and subjects. The point is that it’s very important to lay a strong foundation of concepts that are not taught by books to children. There is a lot for children to learn in life, and though not everything, playing with children and teaching them in the process will be highly beneficial to all of them.