Ten Awesome Skills Kids Learn Through Play
Do you really know what fantastic skills kids learn through play? When kids are allowed regular play in a wholesome environment, they thrive both mentally and emotionally!
Play as discussed in this list is considered unstructured and mainly child-led, with the exception of infants and toddlers. When toys are used they should be simple, mainly non-electronic toys such as blocks, dolls, Legos, play-doh, dress-up clothes, and other such things that require the use of the imagination.
Infants require interactive play with adults, as do younger toddlers. As children grow and develop they should have regular independent playtimes where they are free to play as they choose, but this certainly doesn’t mean unsupervised.
Children should also have regular physical play time from the time they learn to walk.
1. Physical play keeps them healthy and increases brain development – kids who have regular physical playtime develop better balance coordination, they learn consequences and they learn to do better next time when allowed to freely run around and play. Physical play also helps kids build resilience, confidence, and builds problem solving skills. Read more about learning with Whole Body Movement and Play.
2. Play helps kids learn early skills. – colors, shapes, sensory skills,
3. Play helps with brain development – as seen with imagination and creativity.
4. Play helps kids learn problem solving skills.
5. Play helps with language and communication skills.
6. Play helps with self-discovery so that they learn what skills and talents they possess.
7. Play builds confidence through continually learning new skills.
8. Play helps kids be independent and helps them with their individuality.
9. Play reduces stress and allows kids to be carefree and develop naturally without anxiety.
10. Play helps kids learn to deal with others and gain emotional intelligence.
It’s amazing how many things kids learn through play – and this is just a partial list, there are so many detailed studies that have been done to show that kids really need regular playtime. In order for children to grow into well-balanced adults, they need the opportunity to grow and explore through both physical and imaginative unstructured play.
And as Fred Rogers is quoted as saying: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”
8 Simple & Surprising Ways to Increase Your Child’s Concentration
Children these days have so many distractions and may have difficulty with focus and concentration when it comes to schoolwork and learning. Many kids will act out because of stress and anxiety when everything is in constant disruption. It’s important to give your child balance in their daily lives so that you can increase your child’s concentration and focus which will help them grow into healthy adults.
These 8 ways to help increase your child’s concentration will be a major benefit to them throughout their lives.
1. Daily Routine – Make sure your children have a decent daily routine, such as regular wake-up & bedtimes, meal times, homework time, exercise, and playtime. Routines are incredibly important to a child’s emotional development, and the younger they are, the more important. From the time children are infants they need security and one of the major points that parents often miss in giving their kids security is routine. This is also why kids like to watch the same movies over and over and read the same books over and over – because they know how it’s going to end and it gives them security. Routine gives children trust and security which reduces stress, makes kids happy, and makes it so they can concentrate better.
2. Enough Sleep – Make sure they get enough sleep! This is also super important for growing minds and bodies. How much sleep does your child need for their age? This might surprise you!
All kids, even within the same family, have different developmental needs, and this is a simplified guide:
- Kids ages 0-3 – about 15 hours
- Kids ages 3-5 – about 12-15 hours
- Kids ages 5-13 – about 10-12 hours
- Kids ages 13-17 – about 8-10 hours
Here’s more of a breakdown by age from the Sleep Foundation.
For kids up to about age 4 their sleep should be broken up into about 10-12 hours a night and a 2-3 hour nap in the middle of the day.
It’s extremely important to keep a solid sleep schedule for kids and a regular routine. This helps them to focus and concentrate better, gives them much needed security, and helps them grow and develop properly. Letting them have their way with sleep times or constantly breaking their routine can cause them to act out, focus poorly, and not develop properly both physically, mentally, and emotionally.
3. Plenty of Physical Activity – When kids don’t get enough physical activity they end up not being able to rest properly, which causes them to not be able to concentrate.
Kids, and even adults, need time to process information they’ve accumulated or they get brain-overload. The best way to combat this is to make sure kids get daily exercise, even if it’s just running around in the yard playing a couple hours each day. Then they can sleep better and go back to schoolwork with a fresh mind. Also, from one homeschool mom, she found that her kids thrive in their schoolwork if they run each day before starting school. She found it gives them an energy release so they can sit still for school time without any fidgeting and everyone’s more focused.
Regular playful exercise keeps kids from stressing out, makes them happier, eat better, sleep better, and concentrate better.
4. Set a Timer for Small Tasks – When children are old enough and have a reasonable concept of time, say from 6 and up, giving kids a time to complete short activities helps them learn to accomplish goals. This helps increase your child’s concentration by giving them a little bit of urgency to complete the task. Just make sure that you offer positive reinforcement and that the time goals are reasonable for the child’s age and never overwhelming.
5. Play Board Games – It’s very simple to play board games that require kids to learn focus and concentration in a fun and easy way. Just be sure to play games that are age and skill level appropriate. Some kids as young as 4 can play games such as chess, but other kids might do better with checkers or even start with things like tic-tac-toe until they’re ready to move on to something more difficult. The more kids play board games, and build up to more challenging games, the better they’ll be able to concentrate on any task.
6. Remove Distractions – phones, TV, movies, video games, and loud music all have their place, but when your child needs to learn concentration these things are not helpful to them. They can’t possibly learn to concentrate on a specific task if they’re constantly being interrupted.
7. Quality Background Audio – Classical music in the background is something that has often been recommended to help kids learn to concentrate not just because it’s soothing, but it stimulates hundreds of positive effects in children’s brains – Read More Here.
Audio stories are also very helpful to increase your child’s concentration. When they have to listen to find out what’s going on in the story, instead of watching, they have to concentrate. Also a wonderful side-effect of this is that they become more quiet. This works amazingly well and you can find lots of free kid’s audio stories online – such as StoryNory.
Classical music and children’s stories in the background are perfect during activities such as artwork, schoolwork (only classical music during homework), playing with play-doh, Legos, or any other quiet activity. Having quality audio playing in the background during kids quiet play time, not only helps children in hundreds of ways, but also increases your child’s concentration for later activities where it’s needed.
8. Help Divide Their Work – When you show kids how to divide up their work so that they can do smaller bits at a time this reduces overwhelming and stressful feelings, which leads to procrastination and lack of focus. Dividing their work into manageable portions also gives them a sense of accomplishment when they’ve completed one portion and builds self-esteem, which helps them to tackle the rest with success in mind.
Building self-esteem is an important goal for children, but real self-esteem comes from accomplishment. Children need to be able to learn how to accomplish tasks in steps and portions so that they can concentrate better on each part, and then see things through. Self-esteem and confidence will increase your child’s concentration and help them to reach their goals.
A great way to start this is with cleaning their room. You could do it by showing them how to divide the room into sections and do each section at a time. Or, you could make a bit of a game out of it and say “First get all the stuffed animals and toss them on your bed!” and then “Try to find all the dolls or action figures and put them in the bin!” Then after that, “Let’s find all the Legos next!” And so on, until they’ve cleaned up the whole room and they can look back and see what a great job they did by focusing on one toy group at a time.
All large tasks can be divided into smaller portions that will help increase your child’s concentration each time they complete them, and at the same time build self-esteem.
There are lots of easy ways to increase your child’s concentration and, though some may take some work on your part, it’s well worth the effort. You’ll also probably find that life becomes more peaceful all around when you implement these simple activities into your child’s daily routine.
Chess – The Ultimate Family Game
You Can Be a Winner if You Plan Ahead
You gain the advantage in any situation through one medium: time You can do things before they need to be done. You can position yourself ahead of time in the best place. Think ahead of any approaching action. Make a plan and you will always have the advantage. Let your advance worrying become advance thinking and planning. The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. In life, as in chess, forethought wins.
Chess could well be one of the best games for kids to learn to play. There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of studies showing the benefits of learning chess.
In this study, it states that kids who play chess regularly achieve greater academic success – not simply because of the game itself, but also because kids who play chess are thought to be smarter. So, in turn, just playing helps kids believe they are smarter, and therefore have better academic progress.
Not only that, but according to this article, chess is truly the ultimate game for kids of all ages, stating that kids as young as 4 can easily learn the game. The evidence is truly astounding and truly makes chess the ideal family game for kids to play with siblings, parents, and grandparents.
A quick glance at some benefits of chess:
- Spend quality time – one-on-one
- Opportunity for discussion
- Learn valuable skills – the list is practically endless
- Kids become smarter & more engaged
- Gives a chance for quiet moments during busy family parties
- Bridge generational gaps with a game for all
- Opportunity for conversational chess piece sets
Using chess pieces, like these shown, from various battles throughout history give parents and grandparents a great talking point on history lessons while spending valuable time together.
Some of these chess piece sets can be a lot of fun and stimulate lively conversation, like these with the Queen’s Navy verses the Pirates.
Then there are chess sets such as these with Greece verses Rome – who is going to win?
When having family get-togethers, what more fun could a small chess tournament be? This is a great way for family members to spend some quiet one-on-one time visiting together during the hustle and bustle. Playing chess bridges generations and gives everyone in the family a chance to spend quality time, actually getting to know each other, while kids learn valuable lessons they can’t get anywhere else.
Play is Vital to a Child’s Development – Quotes Infographic
Kids naturally start to play and enjoy playing shortly after birth – why else do you see silly grown-ups all over the world playing peek-a-boo with laughing babies? Play immediately comes natural with children because it’s how they learn, develop, and grow.
All throughout history people have recognized this fact in children, but sometimes society seems to lose site of this important factor when trying to make sure everyone has a proper education, when in fact, kids already have a built in learning system called the imagination.
As parents, grandparents, and educators, it’s vitally important that we let kids grow and develop at their own pace. Not all children learn the same things at the same time, but as they learn and grow, by high school, things should be fairly balanced.
When kids are younger, activities like running, jumping, climbing trees, and playing games have been proven to help with every aspect of early development including: physical, mental, social, and emotional. Allowing children to freely do these activities help children all throughout their development so that they can really dig into the book learning in later years, when they’re ready.
Play helps kids in every way – so let them play and don’t worry – they are learning!
Here’s a great article from Gooey Brains that tells why kids who climb trees perform better in school.
And here are the 42 fantastic quotes from PlaygroundEquipment.com on the importance of play for kids:
Download Free Math Pages
Kids will love these free math pages to help them practice counting and addition with fun shapes. They’ll also have fun cutting and pasting the answers on the math pages, and writing number words on clear, uncluttered pages.
When it comes to math, kids need lots of practice to memorize the facts. These worksheets are a perfect addition for your preschool and primary grade students to help learn counting and addition up to facts of ten.
Almost 20 pages of free, fun math pages for kids to practice their early math skills!
With uncluttered, black-line handwriting math pages, kids can practice writing numbers and number words with copywork.
Then kids can count shapes and write the correct number in the answer box. Each shape that is counted has a corresponding shape to write the answer. Includes math pages with simple shapes such as circles, squares, and triangles.
Then there are pages where children can add the shapes together, then cut and glue the corresponding number in the right box. Included is a spot for a fun animal picture to cut and past as well.
For more practice, there are pages with three different shapes, including circles, squares, and triangles, to count and write the correct number, then add them together and write the answer in the corresponding shape.
To get these fun math practice sheets – just add your name and email below! You will receive your free math pages download upon confirmation of your email.
As a bonus – you’ll also receive our extensively researched free eBook on how and what kids learn with board games!
Download Free Math Pages!
Our Top 10 Board Games Picks
There are many different board games that are great for kids to learn and fun for family play, but the classic games are still at the top for good reason! Who doesn’t love a great game of Monopoly or Checkers? This is a brief overview of the popular classics.
No game is better suited to the budding capitalist than this classic real estate game! Monopoly is an American-originated board game published by Parker Brothers. Subtitled “The Fast-Dealing Property Trading Game”, the game is named after the economic concept of monopoly, the domination of a market by a single entity.
It is currently published by the United States game and toy company Hasbro. Players move around the game board buying or trading properties, developing their properties with houses and hotels, and collecting rent from their opponents. The ultimate goal is to drive the other players into bankruptcy.
Was it Colonel Mustard in the conservatory with the candlestick? Junior detectives will love playing the challenging, ever-changing mystery game of Clue.
3-6 Players – Ages 8+
3. Chutes and Ladders
In the Chutes and Ladders game, children who break the rules (as in life) slide down long chutes, and kids who behave climb the ladder of success.
It’s a classic story of good and evil, with a little luck thrown in. No reading required and single digit numbers makes this a fun game for preschoolers. Ages 4+
4. Game of Life
If real life were only as simple as the Game!
Choosing a profession, spouse, and kids is as easy as spinning a dial. Series of choices and chance where you try to get to retirement wealthy. Ages 8+
5. Candy Land
This game is more than 50 years old! Who doesn’t remember the colorful cards and tempting treats pictured along the path in Candy Land?
Candy Land is a simple racing board game. The game requires no reading and only minimal counting skills, making it suitable for young children.
Due to the design of the game, there is no strategy involved. Players are never required to make choices, just to follow the directions. The winner is predetermined by the shuffle of the cards. The classic first game for Ages 3-6.
Whether it’s the marbles or the star-shaped board, kids love to play checkers. Checkers are a great first game for young children to learn strategy and problem solving. There are many varieties of checker games from oversized pieces to classic wood games. Ages 5+
Who can resist those candy-kiss-shaped Sorry pieces? Your kids will love this perennial classic from 1934.
Sorry is a board game that is based on the ancient Cross and Circle game Pachisi. Players try to travel around the board with their pieces faster than any other player. Distributed by Parker Brothers, Sorry is marketed for two to four players, ages six through adult.
The game title comes from the many ways in which a player can negate the progress of another, while issuing an apologetic “Sorry!”
Remember the feeling of sitting down with your mother or father for a leisurely game of Scrabble on a rainy Sunday afternoon? Family time may have shrunk over the years, but there’s no reason to keep it that way with this classic game in the updated version. Play it and e-x-p-a-n-d the afternoon. Ages 8+
Start the kids early on this classic strategy game and you just may find a prodigy on your hands!
While Chess may not be as popular as it once was, there is no doubting that it is the most complex strategy game available. Millions of people play chess on a daily basis, but how did chess originate, and why is the game so popular?
Chess is a strategy board game which comprises of 64 spaces on an 8×8 board. Each player begins each game with 16 pieces which can be moved in different ways. Your objective of each game is to checkmate your opponent’s king. To checkmate your opponent’s king you have to position your ‘attack’ so that their king is in check (a position where the king can be taken on the next move) and cannot move to defend itself in any way.
While variations of the game have been around for thousands of years, the game as we know it today has only been around since the 15th century. Originally, the game came from an Indian game known as Shatranj, an Indian game invented in the 3rd century.
Our favorite site for some good deals on beautiful themed chess sets and classic sets with elegant style is The Chess Store.
10. I Got It!
And finally, our board game I Got It! which is perfect for young children to get started learning numeracy, shapes and colors! It combines strategy and chance with the universal appeal of Bingo making it a fun game for kids to play and learn at the same time!
The enjoyment of classic board games is a timeless way to learn and grow that’s great for the whole family.
Easily Teach Numeracy Skills Through Playing Board Games!
Numeracy skills are necessary, life-long skills that everyone needs and playing board games is a fun and easy way for children to learn. Parents can play an important role in helping their child develop these essential skills by giving them a head start in learning through play. One of the best ways is through board games. Almost every board game has some form of numeric skill to be learned – such as counting spaces in a move and spots on a die.
In a study conducted by Geetha Ramani and Robert Siegler, they found that the mathematical ability of young children is attributed to their informal learning activities such as playing board games in their pre-school years. This means that young children who play board games early in life gain the numeracy skills that they need for the rest of their life. Children can begin to participate with board games, on average, as early as 3 years and parents can tailor the game to suit individual needs. Playing a board game with a young child may seem like just a fun and simple activity where you spend time together, but really, you’ll be giving them a lifetime of important and valuable developmental skills.
Numeracy Skills Learned through Board Games:
- understanding that numbers represent amounts
- understanding numerical order
- recognizing numbers and amounts
- counting skills
- adding skills – such as if using 2 die
- subtraction skills – such as having to go back a space
Additionally the child’s skills will only improve, continually, as they play board games more and more, and as they get older and are playing more challenging games, their skills will increase even further. It’s amazing how much children learn just through playing!
The Struggling Learner
In playing board games, struggling children can gain new confidence learning through play. Often a struggling child essentially “shuts down” when presented with overwhelming homework or tasks. Often parents and educators see this as “daydreaming” or “not paying attention”, when it’s really that the child is having anxiety problems because they haven’t grasped the concept at hand. Instead of labeling them with a learning disability to carry with them for their lives, a better idea might be to get a variety of board and card games to play regularly with the child. In doing so, not only are you building important communication skills and bonding with your child, (which may actually be the root of the problem), but they’ll be learning valuable skills and logic that will help them with their schoolwork. Children will often approach the playing of games with much more enthusiasm and zest which will greatly reduce their anxiety level and increase their motivation in learning.
The endless number of studies on child learning all points to one simple fact – young children learn best through play, so as parents and educators it’s our job to equip them.