Why Children Learn Better Through Play
We’ve always believed that the world needs more innovators. Innovation powers our world and makes it a better place to live.
From learning how to harness fire, to creating the wheel, and even sending rockets into space, people throughout history continue to find better and more efficient solutions to solve problems. However, you don’t have to be a world leader, a famous scientist, or even an award-winning musician to be an innovator.
We firmly believe that developing innovation skills starts at a very early age. Every day, we are faced with choices, and we have the power to choose courses of action that bring about meaningful change and fulfillment in our lives.
Trial and error are at the center of innovation. Kids who learn to explore (and fail) tend to be happier, more creative, and more confident in their daily lives. At Galileo, we give young people hands-on experience with exciting tools and topics while teaching them important life lessons like the power of collaboration and how to embrace their mistakes without fear. Of course, these lessons are best received through the universal language of childhood: play.
Studies have shown that play helps children develop physical skills, learn new cognitive concepts, and even improve their language and social skills.1
As children grasp, reach, crawl, run, climb, and balance, they are developing important motor skills used in everyday life from balancing blocks or running on the playground. Fine motor skills come from children learning how to handle small toys from a young age, as they hold objects and examine them, which eventually leads to learning how to write, ride a bike, or throw a ball later in life.
Children solve problems through play. Early on, they learn colors, shapes, numbers, and sizes, then move to higher levels of thought as they grow older. Play can help also expand memory and attention span. In a pretend grocery store, for example, kids can practice math, decision-making and problem-solving.
Children acquire language as they play and interact with others, starting with small games with their families before they can speak, and moving to telling stories and jokes with their peers. Playing with new toys offers the opportunity for new vocabulary as kids learn the words for new objects.
While playing, kids have to cooperate, negotiate, share, take turns, and play by the rules. Children practice self-control and learn the roles and rules of society through games with others.
In addition to helping develop important life skills, play has a ton of health benefits, helping to reduce stress and increase happiness. It also provides a context for learning, giving children a world where they can imagine real-life scenarios and how everything works together.
For example, if kids play along in an imagined restaurant, there is a whole process to be followed, from creating menus and setting prices, to taking orders, cooking the food, and giving receipts to their patrons at the end of the meal. This kind of imaginative play combines the logical and creative parts of a child’s brain.
As a kid, learning should be fun, with plenty of opportunities to explore the big world around them. Children learn through all their senses: seeing, tasting, touching, hearing, and smelling. Each new object needs to be examined.
A toddler can learn that building blocks aren’t only for making towers and their hands make just as good of a paintbrush as a regular brush.2 There are plenty of new experiences to be discovered.
Whether your kid is participating in outdoor play, messy play, imaginative play, creative play, role-playing games, or any other type of play they can invent, play is essential for learning, at all ages!
Galileo’s summer programs give kids from Pre-K to 8th grade an opportunity to explore and learn through play, putting innovation at the core of all our themes and majors and introducing new skills and new technologies for our modern world. Campers participate in a mix of art, science, and outdoor activities designed specifically for their age group. We believe summer camp should be fun and enriching at the same time. Come learn with us!
If you’re interested in learning more about our art, science, and outdoor summer camps in your area, click the button below to find a camp 👇
1 UC Davis Cancer Center, 2006. https://presidentscircle.childcare.utah.edu/_documents/children-learn-thru-play.pdf
2 Family Lives, 2018. https://www.familylives.org.uk/advice/early-years-development/learning-and-play/why-play-matters/