The importance of play in early childhood is a concept that has no limits. Play is an integral part of the learning process in early childhood development and is therefor important to early childhood education. Play is how little ones explore, discover and learn. Without play children would not be introduced to the basic concepts of life, including language, math, science, social interaction, generosity and fairness. In play we discover our talents, interests, limits and capabilities. Play builds imaginations, friendships and social awareness.
Play for young children will help them develop language skills and an understanding of the importance of communication. Reading stories, playing rhyming games, singing and games with words will all help your child learn. Babies love to be rocked and sung too, and enjoy books with rhyming elements. These will not only amuse and teach them but also help your child relax and settle in for the naps, quiet time or bed time.
Imaginary play helps unlock a child's potential. Through imaginary play a child develops their creativity, then comes to understand abstract notions, including symbolism, and it helps them understand the framework of their world. Creativity is more then just drawing, painting and making up stories. Creativity is problem solving, understanding how things relate to each other, and abstract thought. Understanding symbolism is a basic step in learning to read and if a child can master pretending a block is a cookie they can grasp how a squiggle can be the letter s and how an s makes a particular sound. Imaginary play helps children understand family units, friendships, good and bad guys, emotions, and the desires of themselves and others.
The understand of basic math concepts begins very early in a child's life. Through play children begin to see relationship concepts like long and short, light and heavy, bigger and smaller. These are building blocks of all measurement concepts and innumerable math lessons in proportions. The greater the amount of objects and play involving them, then the greater the amount of discoveries your child will make.
Science surrounds us and for the small child explorative play can lead to scientific discoveries. Hiding beneath the bushes can lead the child to discover the world of bugs and small growing things. Playing with a toy boat can lead to the discovery of buoyancy, and what will float and what will not. Play is inspirational pretending to be an astronaut can lead to a true love of the stars, and a passion for space travel. Never underestimate what a child will find through play.
Play is where a child develops social skills and learns the intricacies of give and take, cooperation and fair play. Taking turns is a basic concept in sharing and fairness that every child learns through play. Through play children can connect with their own culture, and the cultures of others in a safe environment. Building bonds of friendship through play are important to a child's social development and self-esteem. Interaction is a key element in playing with others, problem solving, leadership and empathy all develop through experience.