Posted by : Karen Monday, August 15, 2011

I'm not sure how it has happened over the last few months, but King Arthur and I have lapsed into this very 'formal' way of doing school...a rather academic approach to school for a Grade One learner! And if I'm honest I'll have to admit I think that translates to 'school' without much fun. 

Today, I pulled out some of the phonics games we had played at the beginning of the year and added them in between maths and handwriting, our seat work for each day. The delight and joy on King Arthur's face was well worth it. It made me remember a quote I had once seen in the old MTN Science Centre about the importance of play. (As I write this both boys are involved in a  detailed role playing game with some Atlantis Lego! I'll hold off on doing the proposed art I want to do until I hear a disagreement!)

How often do we get so caught up in doing what we think is 'learning' and forget to let them discover through play? 

“It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.”
~ Leo Buscaglia (author, educator)
The games I pulled out today were:

  • Go Fish -  letter cards (same size as normal playing cards) that show both upper and lower case. We had a ball trying to beat each other! Great way of practicing sounds of letters and recognition for younger kids. King Arthur and I just had fun! I'm sure you could tag things onto this like naming a fruit/person's name/country etc of the letter on the card for older kids.

  • Number Snap - we were given this game that has the digits, number words and objects on cards, up to 9. Easy enough to make at home, and great delight - great for teaching the connection between the words, digits and estimating group numbers. 

  • Alphabet Bingo - cards made up with letters of the alphabet, and separate smaller letters in a jar from which one letter is picked and called out. First one to place 5 in a row, or one in each corner and the middle wins!   (The one shown can be found here) You could also use this idea with sight words...foreign language words....anything!

Needless to say, I don't think it really matters what it is, but as Kay Jamison, a professor of psychiatry says, "play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity. I'm thrilled to feel so stirred to deliberately add play into our studies - and am challenged not to continue to separate the two out (learning and play)!

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning…They have to play with what they know to be true in order to find out more, and then they can use what they learn in new forms of play.
~ Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood)

Happy playful learning to you and yours this week!

3 Responses so far.

  1. Julie says:

    As an occupational therapist, I am very aware of this notion of "development through play", but confess, we don't spend nearly enough time in that zone. I slot play into our school morning when the opportunities arise, but need to make more of an effort for learning to hinge on play!

  2. Jenni C's says:

    enjoy your playing...seems like you are on the right track...

  3. Karen says:

    @Julie - wow! I didn't know you were an OT (and if i did I've forgotten :)) Boy do I have questions for you!
    @Jenni - thanks for stopping by - let's hope I stay on this track!

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