Learning through play

Kids of today just need to play!

Find out more about the crucial role of toys and play in early childhood development

Happy Universal Children’s Day! Established by the United Nations in 1954, Universal Children’s Day is celebrated each year on 20 November to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights and improve children’s welfare worldwide.

In light of this special day, what comes to mind when you think of children? In this article, we celebrate why ‘play’ should be top of your list, not only for the joy that it brings, but also for the vital role it plays in learning and early childhood development.

In a world of extra lessons, educational apps, long school days and academic tests, more and more paediatric professionals are recommending a different way to help children develop and acquire knowledge and skills. It’s an age-old means of learning, used by the animal kingdom and in every culture across the globe – PLAY! Why, even the corporate world uses play in many team building exercises.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued a new clinical report urging doctors to prescribe play liberally to the children in their care to help with their development. Yes, you read that right – encouraging children to play is now ‘doctor’s orders’!

Did you know? Play is recognised by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a child’s inalienable right.

What children learn through play

No matter the type of play – be it physical, social, outdoor, creative, or pretend – children derive important life lessons from the chance to experiment, be spontaneous, and absorb themselves in a task or world of make-believe.

In fact, every skill that’s valued in adults can be built up with play. Some of these life lessons include:

  • Collaboration and cooperation
  • Ingenuity
  • Negotiation
  • Conflict resolution
  • Self-advocacy
  • Decision-making
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Creativity
  • Leadership
  • Physical development

Toys can be teachers

Children actively acquire knowledge by interacting with their physical environment, and toys are the tools through which they do this. Although children don’t need toys spilling out of every space, playing with appropriate toys engages your children’s senses, encourages them to interact with others, sparks their imaginations and inspires them to learn through play.

Get involved

Why should the kids have all the fun? As a parent, engaging in play with your children deepens your relationship and encourages them to partake in different forms of play. Who knows, you may learn a thing or two, too!

Where to find toys that teach

At Truly Toys, we’ve made finding toys that foster children’s learning, well, child’s play. With our focus on early childhood development (ECD) in the Foundation Phase, we’ve aligned with the Department of Education’s CAPS curriculum to supply educational toys that provide a well-rounded ‘learning by play’ experience.

At Truly Toys, we help you to be an even better parent or teacher by providing learning resources for dynamic play that encourage children’s development.

Further reading:

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