Learning Through Play
Now that our baby girl is one year old I’ve been thinking more about learning through play. I have always loved playing and I enjoy finding new toys, books, and games. But recently I’ve found it sometimes stresses me out! Nowadays with the internet and Pinterest there is an overwhelming amount of information out there.
Is it just me or do you ever feel pressure to teach your child everything there is to know? Baby sign language, Pinterest sensory boxes/bins/tubes, motions to every kid song out there, and the list could go on. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s okay to teach your child things and it’s even cute to see them sign “more” when they are eating. However, I believe there should be a balance. I don’t want to stress out if Izzy won’t sit still when I’m trying to read her. I also think it’s okay if your baby doesn’t know 5 different signs and all she wants to do is bang the blocks together instead of building a tower.
Maybe it’s just me, but when did our society become so obsessed with having the smartest and calmest baby on the block? What happened to free play and running around crazily in the backyard? Yes, I do try to have some structured activities for Izzy yet at the same time she loves to play independently. My husband put it so wonderfully when I was stressing out about teaching her things. He said “Lauren when she is exploring she IS learning.” Most of the things Izzy has learned she has done through observation, we never even tried to teach her! For example, putting the phone up to her ear and pretending to talk or saying “night night.” Those are things we just did out of habit and she eventually caught on. Although I’ve almost relentlessly tried to teach her “mama” she still doesn’t say it.
So the next time you worry about teaching your children, remember they are learning through play! You can’t possibly create a purposeful, structured activity every second of the day and that is okay. Honestly, Izzy seems to enjoy playing with household items sometimes more than her toys. Who knew opening the kitchen cabinet could be so fun? Besides some research is even suggesting spontaneous learning is more fundamental. And children may explore toys at a deeper level if they are left to discover it themselves! This is a wonderful article to read about learning.
This is great, Lauren. I remember reading something several years ago about children mimicking through play, and how it teaches them so much about getting along with other people. You also see them mimic how their parents interact with people when they begin to play with others- it’s so interesting!
I literally LOLed at this. I absolutely understand what you are talking about with kids and feeling like we have to be perfect parents…I’ve embraced being #perfectlyimperfect. I love that you are following that instinct to allow free and creative play! We have minimized and reduced our kids toys over and over again, and they still seem to have too much stuff! But, that should be nixed soon…we are taking a plunge and moving into a camper trailer (did I mention I have 6 kids?) I’m pretty excited about it and the forced minimalism and creativity it will encourage for all of us! Keep it up, mama!