Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori Method of education coined the phrase "Play is the work of the child." She noticed that children’s “work” has all the key characteristics of play.
For children, play is work and work is play. After all, even though "play" is fun for them, it is absolutely critical for proper development. (Hey- perhaps nature strategically planned this for a reason!) Play helps develop motor skills, language, socialization, personal awareness, emotional well-being, creativity, problem-solving and learning ability.
Children should have experience with a wide variety of activities (art, music, language, science, math, social relations) because each is important for the development of a complex and integrated brain.
According to Maria Montessori, the essential dimensions of play are:
-> Voluntary, enjoyable, purposeful and spontaneous
-> Creativity expanded using problem-solving skills, social skills, language skills and physical skills
-> Helps expand on new ideas
-> Helps the child to adapt socially
-> Helps to thwart emotional problems
Kids learn best through purposeful play (and yes, ALL play has purpose!). Here are some bucket list ideas for learning fun! They may look more like "work" to us - but remember "Play is the work of the child!"
Visit a New Park - near or far! Whether it is a town, county, state or national park. Parks are just plain awesome. There is so much to see and do in nature. While playgrounds are always fun for kids, consider finding a park where you can venture into the woods. Kids will have a blast turning over rocks, climbing over and under logs, examining plants and maybe even checking out the view. You would be surprised at how easy it is for kids to find and invent their own fun!
Play a New Game - Head to our board game section or your local board game store/cafe and pick out a couple of new games to set aside for a rainy day, or ANY time your family feels like having game time! Games bring families and friends together. They also help promote team work, sportsmanship, critical thinking, communication and problem solving skills. PLUS, they're really fun! In addition to the kids, grownups enjoy our games as well!
Start and Finish a Project Outside - does the fence need fixing? Would some flower boxes look nice outside the windows? Kids love being helpful, and it is especially beneficial for a child to see how a project is conducted from start to finish. It doesn't have to be overly complicated. It can be something as simple as planting a tree, or repairing a fence. Let them help measure, hammer, sand or paint. It will be so enriching for them to be a part of the project process from start to finish. From planning, to shopping for materials, construction/repair assistance to fetching tools and cleaning up. Then the best part, admiring their finished work!
Start a Garden and let the kids take care of it - watch it grow together! There is something so very special about planting a seed and watching it turn into a living plant. Whether you have space for a large veggie garden or only room for a couple of pots, children will get a kick out of choosing something to grow and having the responsibility of keeping it alive. What a great opportunity to learn about the plant life cycle, pollination and the importance of watering. You could even explore the concept of composting and how it can contribute to healthy, fertile soil. If gardening isn't your thing, or you would like tangible tools to assist in teaching these concepts, check out our Little Garden & Hanna Honeybee Games!
Collect Weird Bugs - Bugs don't have to be scary. Use our Terra Kids gear to collect and examine bugs and other critters found in nature. With magnifying features, kids can get a closer look at these amazing creatures. Perhaps you could even help them find books or info online to learn more. After all, the more we know about something, the less frightening it becomes!
Visit Your Local Library - Libraries aren't just for reading (although reading is AWESOME!). Your local library is a wonderful resource for many other things besides books. Libraries often have really fun play areas, maker spaces, dress-up chests, presentations, art galleries and even board game libraries! And you can borrow (for free!) a wide variety of items from libraries in addition to books. Handy things such as park and museum passes, seeds, games, power tools, fishing poles -- items to help you check off this very list!
We hope you have a fun-filled Spring!
...from all your friends at HABA USA