Ontario's full-day kindergarten program encourages kids to learn through play. Studies show that kids gain many skills through play, and these early skills help kids become successful learners.
Here are some tips on how to help your child play to learn at home.
How to Encourage Play in Your House:
- Put on some music and dance or move around.
- Create an obstacle course and crawl under, climb over, or move around the obstacles.
- Go for a walk around your neighbourhood (this also helps your child become familiar with the school and the way to school).
- Roll, throw, catch, and kick balls of different sizes.
- Go skating or swimming.
- Visit the park or playground.
- Whenever possible, respond when your child initiates play.
- Talk to your child while he is playing, explain and name things he is playing with.
- Ask your child questions about his play (for example: what, where, why, when, who and how?). This will help him learn to self-reflect and encourage his thinking skills.
- Read stories with your child and act them out (for example: stories about children starting school).
- Add dolls, unbreakable dishes, pretend food, and dress-up clothes to your child’s play area.
- Add paper and crayons to your child’s play area so he can make scribbles, lists, drawings, and plans. This helps help your child develop writing skills for school.
- Add measuring cups and rulers to stimulate his interest in mathematical and scientific concepts.
- Use music to move and dance with your child, or to help him become quiet.
- Take your child out for a walk around your neighbourhood or a hike through the park.
- Talk about the things you have seen together.
- Pretend play what you have done together (for example: going to the grocery store).
- Develop a routine so your child has a time for active play and a time for quiet play.
- Let your child help you with simple chores and talk about them.
- Bake, cook and prepare food with your child.
For more great tips, read Learning to Play and Playing to Learn: Getting Ready for School