Play is Powerful! By Mary Wolff #TeachMeTuesday

Children are naturally curious. Through their exploration and play, children are intrigued by the incongruous events that they cause and experience. They experiment with cause-and-effect phenomena and delight in being surprised.

As we know, play enhances learning and development for children of all ages and cultures. Early in development, before most children are 2 years of age, their curiosity expands beyond their basic needs. They begin to understand relationships and make predictions to figure out how things work and why things happen. They quickly learn how to cause occurrences in their favour. Children will often test their boundaries while they begin to understand the cause and effect of doing so. They will follow simple commands and start to think for themselves. They may want to have some say in what they wear and eat. They will also be learning to play with other children and interact with adults.

Children may initiate interactions with others to get attention and receive stimulation or look away to discourage interactions. These experiences are examples of how a young child builds memories of the impressions and experiences in life.

Social contexts are also filled with numerous cause and effect occurrences. As children interact with others, they quickly learn how to make someone smile. They learn that they are able to manipulate their world. For example, crying is a way to get the attention of a parent or caregiver. The following are some examples of ways you can foster logical connections and promote positive behaviours.

  • Provide consistent predictable routines
  • Give your child specific praise so they can recognize acceptable behaviour
  • Make commands clear and simple
  • Encourage their independence in daily routines
  • Answer their questions, even if it is the same question over and over again. This is how your child learns
  • Offer simple choices “Would you like the red cup or the blue cup?’

Children who experience predictable events and routines will be able to better understand logical patterns later. Mathematical and scientific thinking is closely related to a child’s ability to search and discover patterns. As parents, educators, and caregivers, it is important for us to be aware of how we interact with and respond to children. These daily experiences and interactions are building the foundation for their critical thinking skills.

Mary_HeadshotMary Wolff

As R.E.C.E, Executive Director and Co-founder of Smart Cookie Club, Mary provides a positive perception, a sense of understanding and unique ideas to support and educate children, parents and caregivers.


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