The Power of Play: promote play for learning

Children have less opportunities for play than ever before. With our busy lifestyles, screen time, organized sports, and homework, kids aren’t getting enough “play time.” That means they are missing out on key learning opportunities. It’s up to us to promote play and give our kids opportunities to explore, learn, and problem solve.

The Minnesota Children’s Museum has made it their mission to promote play and redesign the museum to provide opportunities for play. We were invited to the first exhibit, Forces at Play, and had a great time!

The Power of Play: the importance of play for learning

In an effort to spread the word about the importance of play, I have been asked to be a Play Advocate for the Minnesota Children’s Museum and share information about how parents and caregivers can help make child’s play even more powerful.

Promoting play for learning is an idea that I care about so much, and totally stand behind! I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the Minnesota Children’s Museum as a Play Advocate. There couldn’t be a better match!

Minnesota Children's Museum

I don’t share this often, but my passion all through college and graduate school was Behavior Analysis. I worked with kiddos with autism for years. We used play as reinforcement but also for natural and incidental learning. I also worked in childcare when my little guy was a baby and I was pregnant with my little lady. One of the things that really stuck with me was a workshop about natural playgrounds and encouraging creative thinking and problem solving, and I still think about it!

I even have a gift guide coming up – Gifts to Inspire Creativity in Young Children – just for this reason! I’m constantly looking for ways to encourage  our kiddos to use their imagination and flex those creative thinking and problem solving skills.

The Power of Play - Minnesota Children's Museum

Kids don’t play as much as they used to

Kids today don’t have all the opportunities for creative play that we had… I remember being outside for most of the day, hardly touching a toy at all, but being entertained for hours.

My kids are always looking to me to entertain them. I practically stand on my head to find things for them to do, hoping they will stay occupied for more than 10 minutes.

Forces at Play: Minnesota Children's Museum #PlayMoreMN

The Minnesota Children’s Museum – Promote Play with #PlayMoreMN

We just got our first look at one of the new exhibits at the Minnesota Children’s Museum geared toward promoting the power of play.

The Forces at Play exhibit is full of things to inspire critical thinking and exploration and promote play.

The Power of Play: MN Children's Museum

The kids had the BEST time! They climbed in a huge turtle shell. They splashed around and redirected water down a wall.  The biggest hit of all was manipulating air hoses to shoot ping-pong balls into upside down traffic cones!

The Play Advocates got a chance to hear all about the plans for this new direction at the museum. The full renovation will be completed in the Spring, and it sounds amazing!

Forces at Play at the Minnesota Children's Museum

I wasn’t surprised to hear that research shows children growing up today are spending less time at play than we did in the 80’s. However, I was surprised to find that they are spending 8 hours fewer per week playing. So sad.

Play is critical to learning, and our children aren’t getting that.

I can’t wait to explore this topic, that is so close to my heart, some more and share it with you!

We had a wonderful night at the Minnesota Children’s Museum. This journey as a Play Advocate is just beginning. I look forward to learning more myself and showing you how we can encourage our children to flex those skills they only get through play.

How do you try to encourage play with your children?

Do you think kids these days play less than we did as children?

Kristin - Exploring Domesticity

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28 thoughts on “The Power of Play: promote play for learning

    1. Kristin, Exploring Domesticity Post author

      That is so smart! Not only does it help that it’s fun, but it helps so much to get those creative juices flowing and find your own ways to solve the problems (not just what you’re told). It gives you a basis for solving all problems on your own.

      Reply
  1. Becki @ Fighting for Wellness

    I was just talking about this recently with my mother (that kids don’t play as much as they used to). It’s so important for building skills in reasoning, problem-solving, creativity, imagination, etc. I don’t have kids myself, but we definitely work to encourage play with our nieces and nephews.
    Becki @ Fighting for Wellness recently posted…Trust the processMy Profile

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    1. Kristin, Exploring Domesticity Post author

      Exactly, Becki! It’s really crazy once you do have kids, because I can’t figure out what I’m doing differently from my parents… It just seems to be happening and I have to make a very conscious effort to set up these opportunities.

      Reply
  2. Susan Landry

    We LOVED the MN Children’s Museum when my boys were young! Makes me nostalgic to see your pics. My background is in early childhood education, and I found myself nodding a lot as I read your article and saying, “Yup!”
    Susan Landry recently posted…Food for Thought #10My Profile

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  3. Chrissy @ Snacking in Sneakers

    I totally struggle with this! I feel like sometimes my son can entertain himself, but I worry that we spend too much time in front of the screen (especially during cold winter days). I need to make a list of some creative play things that we can do at home inside! Looks like the museum was a blast.

    Reply
    1. Kristin, Exploring Domesticity Post author

      I hear ya, Chrissy! I struggle to just be a facilitator and give them ideas and allow them to be bored and come up with something on their own – but, boy, can they nag for attention! haha!

      The museum was great and it has really helped me think about this more and how important it is for them to have these play experiences.

      Reply
  4. abbey sharp

    I def think kids these days play far less than we used to as children. Technology and far more advances in society, impact the ways we stay active and take care of ourselves. Just a lot different than it used to be !

    Reply
  5. Tatyana B

    I currently work in childcare, and I am such an advocate on children having the opportunity to play and learn at the same time. They need more than just tablets in their hands, and televisions that have their complete attention. I do hope that one day technology doesn’t impact the newer generations negatively.

    Reply
    1. Kristin, Exploring Domesticity Post author

      I couldn’t agree more! I feel like even the way toys are designed these days kids can’t even be as creative with them as they used to – even Legos are all about just building the design of the kit – I got my kiddo a big bin of plain legos because I want him to use his imagination! Thanks for the comment, so glad you help promote play with your kiddos you work with!

      Reply
  6. Chloe

    Play is SO incredibly important, it is really nice to see someone promoting the importance of play rather then the typical sit down method and learn your fractions.

    Reply
  7. Kalee

    We have a similar place in Nashville that is so fun to go to. I definitely think kids play less and that people overlook all that they are learning when they play as well.

    Reply
  8. Ebonydad

    I 100% agree with this post and the comments above especially when it comes to technology these days, kids stay glued to their devices. Having kids participate in activities that involved their motor skills and brain power go a long way in promoting health, creativity, and a better sense of self.

    Reply
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