The years between three and six years old are magical for children. At this age, they know enough about the world to assign roles and purposes to objects and people. They know the cat says “meow” and that a racecar goes fast. However, they have no sense of limitation and anything is possible. Their active imagination makes anything possible, turning the play into more than just a way to kill time. At this age, your child is constantly learning when they play.
During these magic years, play is a universal language for kids. Next time you get together for a play date, watch your child as they interact with new friends who might come from different backgrounds and families. Play teaches social skills like taking turns, self-control and tolerance of others. At their pre-K program and at home, play fosters some of the following skills in your child.
- Build communication skills
- Understand social rules
- Develop friendships
- Develop a sense of give and take
- Establish patience
- Learn teamwork and belonging
At The Newcastle School, your child gets daily lessons and constructive play time with their new friends. But are there ways to keep the play going home? We love encouraging play, but it’s up to parents to keep the party going and continue the lessons at home.
Encourage Imaginative Play at Home
Imaginative play is crucial for children ages of three to six. By testing the boundaries of their world as a princess, superhero, animal or anything else they can imagine, your little one learns how the world works. When you keep the play going after school, you reinforce the skills your child learned while they were away from you.
Here are some tips to keep the fun going while your child is out of school:
- Play along – Is your child fighting dragons in the backyard or avoiding lava on the floor inside? Get involved! By inserting yourself in your child’s playtime, they learn that using their imagination is a good thing. You give them ideas for further play by participating and further improve their skills.
- Schedule downtime – This not only gives you a breather, it allows your child to pool their own resources and imagination together to keep themselves entertained or soothed.
- Watch Screen Use – There’s a lot to enjoy about tablets, TV and the online world, but these are a substitute for healthy play habits. Overexposing your child to TV or online can dull their ability to create their own stories and narrative. Instead, opt for the old fashioned toys like blocks, dolls, crafts and clay toys that require your child to be creative and use their imagination for fun
- Read Together – Reading with your child fosters a love of reading and communication skills, but it goes beyond the obvious. When you read to your child, ask them open questions about the story to engage them with the material. By thinking about the story, this can inspire your child’s play for later times.