Let’s Play! How Playing at Home Makes Learning Easy
Stephanie Coleman, Community Manager at early years’ technology company EasyPeasy, explains why play is a crucial part of learning at home
Play is a universal language that we all learn to speak from a very young age. Play underpins human behaviour and is crucial in aiding development, especially in the early years. Through playful interactions children can develop language and communication skills, mature emotionally, and gain the self-confidence required to engage in new experiences and with their surrounding environments.
Children are learning from the moment they’re born, and 85% of a child’s brain develops by age 5. In these first years, learning happens through observation and interaction, particularly through play and speech. We know that those who are not exposed to enough play and speech at home often lack the basic learning skills they need when they get to school. This puts them at an early disadvantage, which has a knock-on effect well into their future. Paying attention to what children need early on helps set them up for more successful futures, whatever that success might be for them.
Engaging with children under five through play and language is proven to prepare them better for school, and life. EasyPeasy’s evidence-based 20 week programme, which supports tens of thousands of families across the UK, has been developed with play at its core. Designed for families with children aged 2–5 years old, EasyPeasy sends parents a bank of game ideas, tips and advice straight to their mobile phones. The games contain crucial information on child development and are demonstrated through short videos with real families. All the games are designed to increase positive parent-child interactions by equipping parents with ideas and confidence.
At EasyPeasy, we talk about our ‘golden ribbon’ as something that ties up all the positive interactions that happen during play. All of our activities include the following important features that make up the ‘golden ribbon’, which are communicated through our videos:
- Activities have a clear goal for families to work toward together
- Parents and carers are warm and responsive
- An appropriate level of challenge is set for their child
- Parents and carers celebrate success
EasyPeasy’s golden ribbon can easily be seen through the interaction between one of our families, Matt and Scarlett, as they play our Magic Carpet game. This game helps with physical development, movement, imagination and counting. It’s also great for energising your child!
As demonstrated with Matt and Scarlett, with clear goals and expectations, Scarlett understands what she is meant to do and can set her mind to achieving it. Matt’s warmth and responsiveness, encouragement, eye contact and smiles reinforce positive cycles of interaction – no matter how many mistakes are made! Learning and development happen when Scarlett finds the activity challenging, but not too difficult to achieve. How Matt celebrates success is critical as this helps to build bonds and helps to increase Scarlett’s confidence.
Finally, all of our games and activities have been designed to be inexpensive or free to play either at home or out and about. Because of this, learning through play has never been so Easy (Peasy)!
To find out more about how EasyPeasy is helping early years centres engage with parents and promote effective home learning, visit their website here.