If you were to study any early childhood classroom, you would find that there are specific times cut out in the schedule dedicated to playing. Why is play so important? Researchers discovered that through different types of play, children develop various skills.
Children begin using problem-solving to resolve conflict or achieve a goal; they explore feelings and experiences, as well as objects through such exercises. There are four different types of play to encourage kids’ interest in science that can be used with children long past the early childhood years.
During guided play, an adult has an opportunity to share information that can be thought-provoking for children. This is done by reading books together on different topics surrounding science, such as the existence of dinosaurs, life cycles of various living organisms, processes, biological descriptions of animals, and more. An adult can also start a conversation about or provide specific tools, manipulatives, toys, and figures to activate play and exploration surrounding specifically themed items.
Dressing up and acting out behaviors of animals, characters, or situations is stimulating to the brain and helps kids learn through experience. Pretend play allows a child to explore his or her imagination, things they’ve learned, and even seen. Often in these scenarios, children give each other roles to play so that each participant knows the part their mind must explore as the others observe. Sometimes they critique each other based on their own experiences and prior knowledge, but even this helps each further grasp a concept.
During free play, there is no guide. Children play without any adult involvement. They choose what they play with and how they play. All prompts are from within themselves. This is a great time to observe their interests quietly and distantly to foster further learning at a later date. Free play should be left uninterrupted for a good amount of time.
Kids develop their own theories about how the world works from a very young age. All play in some way can be considered exploratory because the child is consistently met with crossroads and must choose a direction. Exploratory play is the time when children can take things apart, break them down, see how they work or move, and mentally note the details. Creative Beast Studio has created various realistic dinosaur figures to help with the understanding of each creature’s anatomy, coloring, and physical features.
Children have incredible minds. They are capable of beginning to understand science within their first year of life. Utilizing their brain absorbency to provide information that helps them to understand, learn, ask questions, and seek answers is very important. When questioning how to encourage kids’ interest in science, the answer is to give them the tools and information and let them run with it. Use guided play to instill additional information. For the rest of the time, make books, figures, equipment, toys, and other data available for play and exploration.