As parents we want to give our kids every opportunity to grow and learn. These days that seems to mean structured activities, constant attention, and busy kids. However, one of the most important things for learning is PLAY! Play teaches children how to learn. Here are some tips for parents to encourage play for learning.
As a Play Enthusiast and Play Advocate for the Minnesota Children’s Museum we have have been provided with an extension to our membership and the opportunity to learn more about the importance of play. This post may also contain affiliate links that we hope you will find helpful!
The new Minnesota Children’s Museum is open! We’re so excited! We went to the museum during the sneak peek week, and the kids had the best time. They haven’t stopped talking about it for the past week!
There is way too much to cover about the new museum here. Each exhibit is amazing, they all have a million things that make them fantastic, and they are so fun for kids. However, one of my personal favorite things about the museum is that there are signs in each area with tips for parents. Posted around the museum are tidbits about how parents can support play in each area while still allowing children the freedom to learn and explore on their own.
The Importance of Play
Through play, children learn how to learn.
During play, kids…
- Discover new things
- Work through ways to solve problems
- Make mistakes
- Learn from mistakes
- Discover many different ways to do things
- Collaborate with others
- Learn to have confidence in themselves
She would have painted her face forever! I even had to lookup the crayons we used – they’re great!
Tips for Parents to Encourage Play
As parents it can be very tough to just let our kids play. We can often feel pressured to give them every opportunity through structured play. However, even better is to…
Give them the freedom to play.
It can be hard to stand back and let them play. Even more difficult when our kids have come to depend on us for attention and guidance.
The Minnesota Children’s Museum has begun an initiative to Stand Up for Play. They want to provide parents with tools to encourage play, and spread the importance of play. They will even send you a Play Activation Kit to help give you tips and some goodies to get started. You can share how you encourage play with the hashtag #PlayMoreMN.
I loved seeing all the signs around the Minnesota Children’s Museum to give parents some tips in different areas. They are all over! I didn’t even have a chance to see them all, but here are a couple of my favorites.
Supporting Playful Learning
- Ask open-ended questions to get past “yes” and “no” answers
- Spark conversation: “tell me about the time…”
- Pose challenges: “what if…” and “what would you do if…”
- If they are focused on one thing for a long period of time, look for reasons they may be so interested
- Give children a chance to work through conflict without jumping to intervene
- Encourage children to take other roles
- Model play and lead by example
- Guide without taking over
- “Try not to worry. They’ve got this.”
- Allow them to make mistakes
- Encourage children to think for themselves
- Focus on the process, not the end result
- Slow down and observe
- Get a child talking about what they’re doing, and ask their opinion
I love all these great tips for parents!
We all know we could use more support instead of unrealistic expectations. So, let’s let our kids be kids, sit back and watch – or not – and give ourselves a bit of a break. We’re going to raise more innovative kids that way!
What are some of your favorite things about letting kids play?
How do you encourage play in your household?
If you’re interested in more awesome parenting tips, raising a healthy family, connecting with other moms, and finding some amazing companies committed to healthy families and a healthy environment, check out the Moms Meet WOW Summit! It is a blast!
You can also get an extra 15% off the already reasonable price of $39 with the code EXD15 when you purchase your WOW Summit tickets through my affiliate link.
If you’re on the fence, feel free to message me with any questions. I had so much fun the year I went, and left with so many amazing products!
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