When I started my Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that play is an integral part of a child’s learning and development process. After all, the most natural thing to a child is the desire to play. As an early childhood teacher it was my duty to learn the best ways to promote learning and exploration through play. That’s why I’m super delighted to share IKEA’s new “Let’s Play for Change” campaign that launched this month. This campaign focuses on raising global awareness about the importance of play for everyone! It’s a topic that I’m very passionate about, so keep reading to find out why you should encourage your children (of all ages) to play, and to learn more about this IKEA initiative.
FIVE REASONS PLAY IS IMPORTANT FOR DEVELOPMENT:
Play encourages natural exploration.
If a child has never used a whisk before they may not know what it’s for. But if they are playing with someone else who does know what a whisk is and knows how to use it, they might be able to model that. Learning takes place most naturally through intrinsic motivation to learn. Children start asking questions about the world, their environment, and new experiences through play. Play also allows for hands-on interaction with objects that you may not encounter in their daily life.
Play allows for natural development in vocabulary.
Playing with others allows your child to hear how they express themselves, and what words they may use that are new or different. Conversation is most natural through play, and allows for teachable moments that are integrated into an activity. For example, a child may know all of the colors they’re using to paint with except for brown. They want to use that color to paint a tree stump but aren’t sure what to call it. You, the parent, can then teach them the color in the most natural way possible. Their curiosity and need for that word allowed you to teach them pressure-free!
Play allows for socialization and teamwork.
Teamwork is a must when playing a group game like checkers or freeze tag. Human connection is natural when you’re playing with someone else. It’s amazing for children to learn how to work with others or even resolve conflicts as they arise through play. Those skills are invaluable and translate to every day life situations we deal with as adults.
Play is a stress-reliever.
The best thing about play is that it lacks pressure. Think about how nervous you are before a test or exam. Children feel the same way. Structure consumes our every day lives through work or structured schedules for children. Having the time to relax and be creative or experiment is great for both children and adults.
Play fosters creativity and the use of imagination.
This is a huge one for me. As a Kindergarten teacher, I was amazed at the intricate stories my students would make up when they were playing house or power rangers on the playground. They would choose roles for each person, settings for where their play takes place, and they would encourage the others to participate. They’d even create houses out of boxes, and use inanimate objects as every day things. I loved watching their imaginations at work!
THE IKEA ‘LET’S PLAY FOR CHANGE’ CAMPAIGN:
When IKEA asked me to share about this campaign I was ecstatic. Like I said, I truly believe that play is the root of all learning, and is so undervalued in today’s age of technology.
IKEA shared with me that they are spreading awareness for the need for play in several ways. The first is building a global movement around play. The IKEA foundation recognizes that not all children are given a safe space to play. Incidentally, they granted $53 million to several children’s organizations including War Child, Room to Read, UNICEF, Save the Children, Handicap International and the Special Olympics to help support children’s right to play and develop.
Is your child one of the kids who loves the soft stuffed toys at IKEA? Grace is a big fan. Did you know that any SAGOSKATT soft toy purchase you make at IKEA supports Save the Children’s U.S. Hurricane Relief Efforts? It always makes me feel better when I purchase toys for Grace knowing they go to a great cause.
Lastly, I love that IKEA is hosting global play dates at IKEA stores worldwide encouraging consumers young and old to uncover more playful everyday moments! There will be interactive games and activities for children sprinkled throughout IKEA U.S. stores starting November 9 all the way through December 24, 2017.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Let me know if there are any questions you might have regarding play or the IKEA initiative to promote play for all!
Thank you so much for reading!
I am a Brand Ambassadör for IKEA U.S. This is a sponsored post.