When watching a child play, you might only see a game, but playtime is much more than that. Children learn through observation and exploration and one of the best ways to support this development is through play.
The benefits of child-initiated and teacher-supported play-based learning have been well-documented. Let’s look at some ways parents can encourage children to explore their curiosity and creativity at home?
Create a Space at Home Where Children Can Discover
While parents often feel the need to provide structured activities to help keep their children active, engaged, and entertained, the advantages of free-unstructured playtime should not be overlooked.
At their child care service centre, educators provide children with a balance of structured and unstructured playtime, and parents are encouraged to do the same at home. Providing your child with a safe space within your home where they can freely explore their environment without strict rules or judgment allows them to flex their curiosity and develop their creativity. It’s good for them and you!
Provide Opportunities for Your Child to Be in Charge
Structure and routine are essential to a child’s development, however, sometimes, it’s okay to follow your child’s lead and allow them to be in charge.
Little actions can have a large impact. Allowing your child to pick a cereal while at the grocery store, letting them choose their clothes, or following them along a new path to the playground help develop your child’s natural curiosity and self-awareness while giving them an essential boost of confidence.
Use Conversation to Help Inspire Big Ideas
Kids ask a lot of questions and it’s just one of the ways they make sense of the world. However, asking questions is also a great way to help get your child’s creative juices flowing.
Educators working in child care centres will often preface an activity with an open-ended question period and then encourage children to explore their answers. And it’s a fun and rewarding activity you can promote at home.
Try engaging with your child by asking open-ended questions, things like “why do you think…” or “what do you think would happen if…,” and then explore that conversation as it develops. You can even try out some of your child’s suggestions; perhaps they are curious to know what would happen if water is added to playdoh or when an egg is squeezed tight.
Parents have a natural tendency to limit their children’s interaction to those of similar age or with similar interests. However, encouraging a diverse environment with kids from different age groups, backgrounds, and interests, helps support curiosity, creativity, and compassion.
A child care service centre that provides mixed-age groups enables younger children to learn from older ones and encourages older children to take on leadership roles in helping the smaller children. You can support this type of learning at home by providing opportunities for your child to engage in mixed-age play in places like playgrounds, family events, or organized playdates.
Show Your Creative Side
Children are always watching and observing the world around them often mimicking the behaviours they see. This is your opportunity to encourage your child’s exploration, creativity, and curiosity by engaging in activities you both can enjoy. Get messy with paints and create a drawing for your child, let your child choose a recipe and get busy together in the kitchen, or dance like no one is watching; when your child sees you freely explore your creativity, it will empower them to do the same.
For information on play-based learning child care centres around Surrey, visit Child Care Surrey today!