It’s not all monkey business.

Seems like all fun and games when the children start to play. It might have you wondering what could they possibly be learning when they’re crashing toys, and making all that mess? The walls have crayon on them. The livingroom looks like a tornado went through it. So what are they learning from it? The answer is a little bit of everything!

Play is an important part of childhood development. The skills they develop, and learning opportunities are endless. When your children are stacking blocks and knocking them down they learn math skills like how different shapes and sizes relate to each other, and fit together. They practice development of their gross motor skills as they pick them up, and fine motor while manipulating them. They learn about co-operation and sharing when building with a friend. Develop their social skills, and ability to play with others. They express creativity, and imagination. Problem solving when a block tower falls down, and they try to rebuild it. Even self-awareness as they discover what strengths and weaknesses they have. There are lots of lessons to learn through play, and it even presents opportunities as a parent or teacher for us to learn how to keep activities developmentally and age appropriate so they might learn even more.

Kids have a natural curiosity, and drive to explore their surroundings. To challenge obstacles, and push past their limitations. It builds their self-esteem, and ambition. There’s always a lot more going on during play than what you might see at the surface.

So next time you feel overwhelmed by all the noise, mess, and conflict that comes with learning to play remember that these moments help the development of a child as a whole. That allowing a little mess is a learning opportunity. That a fight between siblings in fact helps them to learn better social skills. Everything we face in life allows us to learn something, and even as adults we’re still soaking up information, and pushing our boundaries every day.

Children learn to play, and play to learn. Starting from a very early age play is what teaches children how to explore and interact with their surroundings. It’s an educational opportunity for everyone to enjoy. So take advantage of it, and go play!