Want your Preschooler to Love Learning? Let Them Play!
By Gwendolyn Haley, Spokane County Library District Youth Services Manager, Success By 6 Board Member
Playtime is the most important part of any preschooler's day. Why? Starting at infancy, children learn primarily by playing! When children play, they develop cognitive, motor, language, social and emotional skills. Parents can help children get the most out of their playtime by allowing time for free play, as well as directed activities, and by providing access to a variety of safe and developmentally appropriate toys. These toys can be as simple as blocks and pots and pans, or more complex like puzzles and art supplies. Getting down on the floor with your child encourages play and fun interaction. Singing and talking with your children develops their imagination and language skills.
At Spokane County Library District, we encourage parents and caregivers to interact with their children through a variety of activities at our Play and Learn Storytimes. We start with a half-hour Storytime that includes books, songs, fingerplays and rhymes. Then we set out learning stations for children and adults to explore together. Types of learning stations vary. A station may have a craft that helps children express their creativity while developing fine motor skills through the use of scissors, crayons and glue. Or a station may have blocks and other construction toys for children to play with together, which helps them develop social and emotional skills by sharing supplies and planning their building project. A station with flannel cutouts allows children to tell stories and repeat rhymes. The parachute station, which is always a favorite, enhances large motor skills and inspires collaboration. Who knew that having fun at playtime would jump-start your preschooler's love of learning?
Find a Play and Learn Storytime near you at www.scld.org.