Make Summer Your Opportunity for Fun Learning

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Summer is here but that does not mean learning stops! The beauty about learning is that it is lifelong, constant and it happens even when we are least aware of it. Children are naturally curious about the world around them and every interaction with your child is a learning opportunity. Why not take the opportunity this summer to continue your child’s learning in some fun and interesting ways.

Play-based Learning

You may think you’re just playing with your child but in fact, what you are doing is teaching them valuable skills and knowledge. Play-based learning can be seen as learning through play. It is a familiar concept in early childhood settings where young children’s learning and development are fostered through play.[1] Play is important to children’s development, besides being fun, play helps to develop children’s reasoning, language, physical, social and emotional skills.[2] A simple game with building blocks teaches children mathematical concepts, the nature of the physical world and how to manipulate their environment, which are early foundations for science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) knowledge.[3]

Summer provides a great opportunity for families to relax and enjoy each other’s company and that involves play. Play is not only good for children, it is also great for adults. The benefits of play for adults include relieving stress, making you happy and strengthening your relationships[4]. Research shows that people who engage in play have stronger relationships and are less likely to be involved in criminal activities[5].

Tips for Play and Learning this Summer

Now that we know some of the benefits of play for children and adults, here are a few tips for play this summer:

  1. Hide and Seek – this traditional game is always a hit with children. It involves physical activities and lots of imagination. Who is better at finding the hiding spots in the house and around the yard – you or your children?!
  2. Peekaboo – babies love this one! Engage your baby by covering your face with a blanket or both of your hands for a few seconds. When you reveal your face, you say “Peekaboo!” The Peekaboo game helps babies as they develop object permanence, which is the knowledge that things still exist even when they are not in sight[6].
  3. Ludi – the main board game in many Jamaican homes, is a great game for both children and adults to enjoy. Ludi is a very strategic game that helps with problem-solving which is necessary to beat your opponents and early Mathematics skills for deciding your moves when you throw the dice.
  4. Dominoes – another board game staple for Jamaican family gatherings, Dominoes is a fun game that both children and parents can play. Similar to Ludi, Dominoes involve the critical thinking, strategic moves and Mathematics skills needed to beat your opponents.
  5. Water Play – this play activity is full of fun and helps children stay cool in summer. Besides that, water play presents opportunities for science and Maths learning. During water play, children can learn about the nature of things, what will sink or float. Mathematical concepts such as quantity can be learnt too – full, half-full or empty, less/more and same/different.[7]

Of course, there are lots more fun play activities that you and your children can get involved in that will continue learning this summer. Tell us about some of your play and learn activities in the Comments section!