4 Ways a Playroom Can Positively Influence a Child’s Success
Playtime is a very important aspect of every child's day. Play is the true work of a child. Children are busy when they are playing, and they are learning when they play. For example, when children are looking, pouring, bouncing, hiding, building, knocking down, climbing, running and play-acting they are learning. A room stuffed full of toys, however, does not invite creative, independent, sustained play. Playrooms must be well organized with learning centers where things are in place so that when kids want to create, build or pretend, they have everything they need right at their fingertips.
1. An organized playroom allows children to engage in creative, independent play. This type of play has positive effects on the brain and on a child's ability to learn. In fact, recent research has shown that creative, independent play may function as an important, if not crucial, mode for learning. Encourage creative, independent play by providing open-ended toys and creating an organized space for playtime.
2. Creating a pretend play center builds language skills. Studies reveal a link between pretend play and the development of language skills. It has been found that children who engage in pretend play have better language skills – both receptive language (what a child understands) and expressive language (the words she speaks). Pretend play can also help enhance relationships as children grow older.
3. Building a math mind. An organized block center with age-appropriate building materials and plenty of floor space encourages children to build. Block play is linked to better math skills. Researchers found that 4-year-olds who played with blocks were more likely to achieve high math scores in high school. In order to encourage powerful block play at home, it's recommended that parents have an efficient system of block storage and organization in the playroom.
4. Problem solved. Organized block centers inspire complex building and divergent problem solving. Psychologists recognize two major types of problems. Convergent problems have only one correct solution. Divergent problems can be solved in multiple ways. Because kids can put together blocks in a variety of ways, block play is divergent play. Recent research found that children who played with blocks performed better on divergent problems. They also showed more creativity in their attempts to solve the problems. Divergent play with blocks prepares children to think creatively and better solve divergent problems.
Karri Bowen-Poole and Chris Simpson are part of the Smart Playrooms team that designs, builds and organizes play areas for children.
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