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Kids Learning

Play and Classroom Education: How Adapted Playtime Can Contribute to Classroom Learning

It is easy for parents and educators to underestimate the power of play and its contribution to education of young children. Although most often looked at as simply a fun experience, play can teach a variety of knowledge and skills to children.

Despite the traditional opinion among parents and educators, play can change the classroom environment to prepare students for better learning and understanding of school subjects. Here are six reasons why play should be part of the classroom learning.

Play and Classroom Education: How Adapted Playtime Can Contribute to Classroom Learning

Use Playtime as an Incentive

If kids finish their school work early, instead of giving them more assignment, provide them an option to play with educational toys and games. Intellectual activities such as playing with puzzles and construction blocks can contribute to cognitive growth and better development of mind and memory in children. Alternatively, teachers can use a variety of play activities related to the teaching subject of the day to support the classroom discussion. Math, spelling and science toys are examples of available play products for classroom playtimes.

After-School Learning

Playing with educational toys and games after school can complement the school learning. It’s always best not to saturate this time with miscellaneous school work and heavy homework assignments. After-school hours can be utilized best when they provide a combination of play activity and school study to children. A good practice is to include a half-an-hour to an hour gap of free playtime before children begin to do any school work. This window of playtime helps children release their energy, relax their minds and prepare for working on school assignments.

Intentional Classroom Playtime

There is much said on the importance of play for physical, social and cognitive development of young children. Teachers should embrace the value of play as an educational tool for inside the classrooms. Teachers must include play in their curriculum and educate parents on the importance of play. Teachers play a vital role in creating opportunities, time, space and materials for an enriching playtime that contributes to a better learning experience for children.

Encouraging Cooperative Learning

Children love to play and they tend to focus more and pay attention more when play is combined with teaching activities. Teachers can use classroom games and creative play ideas as a tool to attract children’s attention and help distracted students to focus on the classroom discussion. Use of classroom games and toys for education increases the number of students who are willing to make an effort to learn inside the classroom.

Bringing Teacher and Students Closer Together

Play is a fun activity for children. Play gives children the opportunity to communicate to each other, laugh and enjoy their time inside the classroom. Classroom playtime promotes group work and face-to-face interaction among students. Play involves and engages everybody in a classroom. Instead of one person talking and doing all the work, play encourages everyone to participate and do something. The talk, interaction and group work that play brings to the classroom creates stronger bonds between teachers and students.

Reducing Behavioral Problems in Classrooms

Behavioral problems are reduced in a classroom environment where children are actively involved and interested in the topic of discussion. The joy and involvement that play activities bring to the classroom environment reduces the number of misbehaviors among students and help teachers manage the classroom better.



Should We Use Tablets for Children’s Learning? Where Do You Stand?

Use of tablets and other electronic devices for education of young children has always been a controversial issue. There have been a lot of talks from parents, teachers and children’s health experts on positive and negative aspects of using technology for children’s learning. There is no doubt that tablets are finding their place in children’s homes all around the world. Tablets can be effective educational tools when used in a proper manner. Here are some helpful tips on how to introduce your child to this irresistible new technology.

Should Tablets Be Used for Children's Learning?

Limit  The Screen Time

Face to face interaction is an important component of human communication. The truth is nothing can replace a human face and the physical presence of a teacher in a room. In a traditional teacher-student setting, children are able to interact with the educator, ask questions and express and interpret feelings; qualities that tablets are not able to provide. As a parent, make sure you set limits on the hours your child is allowed to use the device. Most experts agree on the maximum of 1 to 2 hours of usage per day.

Monitor Tablet Usage at Home

Tablets should be used primarily for educational purposes and not merely for entertainment. A common mistake by busy parents who don’t want to be interrupted or disturbed by kids is to use tablets when they need to keep children busy and occupied. When used at home, make sure kids use tablets for learning instead of fun. Tablet is not a replacement for educational toys and kids’ made-up games.

Use Educational Apps

Using a tablet is all about the type of software or application you decide to install on your device. Make sure the apps you’re using on your device are educational with excellent ratings on learning values for children. So how do you know which apps to pick from thousands of choices available in the app stores? Use websites like Common Sense Media or Graphite where you are able to see age-appropriate apps per category, read reviews and view ratings.

Have Conversation with Children

Before buying a tablet for children, decide why you want your kids to have a tablet and how they are going to use it. Explain to your kids the purpose of using a tablet and why you think its usage for playing games and watching videos should be limited. You want your child to look at tablet as an educational tool not an entertaining device.

Family Time is Important

The time your child spends on electronic devices should not replace the valuable family time. Your child needs plenty of interactions, quality conversations and fun playtime with siblings and mom and dad to feel the love and bond in the family. Don’t forget the norms of days without a tablet. Make sure family members still get together for dinnertime and you have plenty of time to talk to each other about your day, needs, issues and life happenings.

The Bottom Line

As a parent, you need to decide whether a tablet is a necessary tool for your children. If decide to buy one, monitor children’s usage, limit the screen time and provide quality educational apps. When used properly, tablets can be an additional learning tool beyond books and traditional materials used in a classroom.


Five Important Life Skills Children Learn Through Play

Kids spend hours after hours playing with siblings, friends, parents and peers. Play is an important part of every childhood and it lays the foundation for development of important social and interpersonal skills in children. Play offers children opportunities for social interaction and mixing with others. It teaches children lessons that they will use in their lives over and over. Here are the five most important life skills children learn through play.

The Important Life Skills Children Learn Through Play

Children Learn How to Share

Children learn how to share, take turns and cooperate when playing with other kids especially at preschool and kindergarten level. Sharing is a life skill that’s learned best at an early age through fun and interactive play. Play encourages children to participate in group activities, learn to wait for their turns to play, respect peers and share toys and playthings with other children.

Children Learn to Communicate

Play most likely involves interaction and communication with at least another person. Children tell stories, ask questions, make requests and answer to questions as they play. Listening and talking are main components of every play activity. Play teaches children to communicate effectively with peers and adults, convey their meanings to their playmates and understand feelings and emotions of others.

Children Learn How to Deal with Conflicts

Playing with children from different cultures, backgrounds and family settings always involves dealing with conflicts. There are always kids who don’t want to share, take turns, follow instructions or play with others. As children play with each other they Children Learn Through Playlearn how to handle conflicting situations, how to search for solutions and resolve disagreements.

Children Learn to Participate in a Group Play

Children learn through play the important life skills like how to cooperate and how to participate and contribute to a group effort. Play activities like building things with construction blocks, group indoor or outdoor games and pretend play encourage team building, collaboration and conforming to norms and regulations. Children learn how to control their needs, feelings and impulses to contribute towards achieving a goal.

Children Learn to Lead and Follow

Play gives children the opportunity to follow and lead others. It is in group play activities that children assume roles, define responsibilities, lead and guide others, solve problems and follow instructions. Play helps children identify their personal strengths and weaknesses and helps them prepare for real life experiences.



Qualities of a Good Teacher

A Good Teacher can Impact your Child’s Growth and Learning in Many Different Ways

Teachers are one of the most influential figures in every person’s life. Good teachers are cherished and remembered by their students forever. Teaching is a hard work. It requires patience, care, a broad range of knowledge and skills for overcoming challenges. So what are the valuable qualities of a good teacher? Here is Learn To Play Toys favorite list for the most important qualities of a good teacher that encourage and support your child’s growth and development. Does your teacher have these qualities?

Qualities of a Good Teacher

A good teacher establishes a close relationship with students

It is important for teachers to get familiar with their students individually, know their personalities, and learn what they like and dislike. Teachers who stay after school and spend time with students establish a closer relationship with their students. Studies have shown that quality teacher-child relationships result in a better academic outcome and learning experience for children.

A good teacher cares about students’ learning

Teaching should not be about presenting the information only. Good teachers ensure that students understand the subject matter and are able to utilize the newly learned skills in a practical way. Children all have unique learning abilities. Good teachers use a variety of teaching methods and assessment to make sure knowledge is received by the students.

A good teacher communicates with parents

A good teacher communicates with parents frequently and keeps them informed of what’s going on inside the classroom. Personal take-home notes to parents, emails, phone calls or personal meetings are common methods teachers use to keep in touch with parents and inform them of children’s academic and social development.

A good teacher has a passion for teaching children

The saying that “to be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work” is absolutely true. Good teachers have a passion for teaching. Passionate teachers are creative, dedicated and motivated individuals who never give up and show commitment to student’s learning and achievement.

A good teacher is knowledgeable

Good teachers come from strong academic background, are experts in their subject matter and use a variety of techniques to teach students. Teachers with expertise in their subject matter are able to answer questions, lead discussions and provide extra educational resources and activities that facilitate students’ learning.

A good teacher knows how to manage a classroom

A good teacher knows how to manage the classroom effectively and how to control students’ behaviors so everyone treats each other with respect. A positive classroom environment where relationships are based on friendship and respect contributes to social and academic growth of students.



How to Prepare Your Child for First Grade

Now that kindergarten is over, it’s time to move on to the first grade. But is your child ready for the first grade? With some work and early preparation, you can easily prepare your child for first grade education. Before entering the first year of elementary school, your child needs to have developed a broad array of educational skills and knowledge sets. We call these educational skills LMS. What is LMS? LMS stands for Language, Math and Science. LMS is a knowledge-based foundation necessary for academic growth of children throughout the school years.

How to Prepare your Child for First Grade

LMS is an important part of every child’s education. LMS constitutes a considerable amount of knowledge and information your child will receive in all levels of education. Your child will depend and grow on this foundation till he graduates from high school and even college and university. Learn more about LMS and how you can prepare your child for first grade curriculum.

Promote Language Skills

By the age your child is ready to enter the first grade, he has to have developed the basic language skills he needs for reading, writing and speaking. Your child should be able to say and write his full name, write simple words, build sentences, ask questions and speak clearly to convey his requests. Your child acquires most of these skills during the kindergarten as he interacts with teachers and other children. As a parent you can contribute a lot to help your child prepare for first grade. Follow these tips to improve your child’s language skills.

  • Start the practice of reading to your child at least 15 to 30 minutes each day. Read aloud and read together. While reading, ask your child to say the familiar words. Ask questions. Let your child describe the story and how he thinks the story should end.
  • Play Spelling Bee with your child. The way that this works is that you think of a word and say it to your child. Then your child tries to spell the word letter by letter either verbally or by writing it on a piece of paper. Use simple words such as “cat”, “book”, “pen”, etc. Invite a friend to play along with your child. Spelling Bee is more fun when there is a competition.

Develop Necessary Math Skills

Before entering the first grade, your child has to have developed the basic number and counting skills and should be able to perform basic math operations. He should be able to recognize all numbers from 0 to 10, say and write numbers from 0 to 20, and add numbers up to 10. Similar to the required language skills, most of necessary math skills are learned during the kindergarten.
Here are things you can do to improve your child’s math skills before the first grade:

  • Play counting games. Use every opportunity you have to ask your child to count. You can easily turn this into a fun play activity. Opportunities are numerous. If going up the stairs, ask your child to count the stairs with you. Buying apples in a grocery store? Ask your child help you to count the apples.
  • Help your child pay attention to numbers. Numbers are almost everywhere. Simply ask your child to read them back to you. Some good examples are the TV remote control, mobile and telephone handsets, house numbers and street signs.

Know Science

The last of the three LMS skills your child needs to develop for first grade is science. By now, your child should be able to observe simple experiments and make conclusions, know the basic meaning of heat, cold, wet and dry, understand the difference between living and non-living creatures and name the basic characteristics of plants and animals. Here are the steps you can take to help your child develop a better knowledge of science before entering the first grade:

  • Ask “why” and “what” questions. Science is all about children learning about the world around them. As a parent you can stimulate your child’s inquisitive mind to learn more about science. Ask questions and make sure you have answers prepared. Ask questions such as “why does it rain?” or “what is inside a boiled egg?”
  • Do science experiments at home. These preschool science experiments are excellent motivators for kids who want to learn more about science and what’s in the world around them.


How to Teach the Alphabet to Preschoolers

Are you wondering how to teach the alphabet to your child or preschool students? Most children are able to start learning alphabets between the ages of two and three. Learning alphabets is the first step towards developing language and literacy skills in young children. The goal is to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabets and the sounds connected to each letter. Remember this is not a one-day, one-week or even a one-month task. Letter recognition is a skill that takes time and patience to develop and master. We have put together some tips and fun activities to get you started on this process.

How to teach the alphabet to your child?

How to Teach the Alphabet to Preschoolers: Five Fun Activities for Teaching Alphabet to Children

Start with the Child’s own Name

Teach Your Child The AlphabetYour child is most likely interested in learning his own name more than anything else. Start by helping your child to recognize the letters in his name. Spell out your child’s name with a pen or a marker on a piece of paper. Try to focus on the first letter of his name first. The first letter in a child’s name is always the first alphabet a child learns. Pointing at the first letter in his name with your finger, ask the question, “What’s the first letter in your name?” Then you say something like this “A is for Alexander” or “S is for Sarah”.

Let’s Play Letter Games

There are many games you can use to help your child with letter recognition. Use washable Fingerpaints and ask your child to draw the letters he has learned in uppercase and lowercase on a drawing board. Another game is to ask your child to use Fingerpaints and draw things that start with a particular letter. For instance with letter “B”, he can draw a Ball, a Box and a Bird. Use one drawing board per letter. This way you can save your child’s artwork and come back to it after a few days for more letter practice.

Use Alphabet Puzzles

Use Alphabet Puzzles to teach your child the alphabetsAlphabet Puzzles are excellent tools for teaching ABCs to preschoolers. You might want to start with an alphabet puzzle after your child has learned at least a hand full of letters. This way he can use the alphabet puzzle as a learning toy to expand his letter recognition skill and have some fun playing at the same time. Alphabet puzzles are important learning tools as they make children see all the alphabets next to each other in a big picture and help them understand the alphabetical order and the letter sequence.

Letter of the Day Magazine Game

Select a letter for the day and write the letter in big size uppercase format in a large sheet of paper. Ask your child to search through pages of a magazine or newspaper and cut out all the words that start with that letter. Ask your child to focus on two or three sheets. After he gathers all the cut-out pieces, read the words together aloud. This last exercise helps your child to become familiar with how a particular letter sounds in different words.

Read Alphabet Books Together

Buy alphabet books that have a lot of pictures in them. Alphabet books are available in a variety of themes and topics such as colors, animals, farms, foods, and the list continues. Pick your first subject based on your child’s interest. Read the book aloud with your child. Be patient and spend as much time as necessary to help your child get familiar with each letter.



How to Motivate Kids to Learn

How to motivate kids to learnYou know your child is a smart kid and you know he will learn if he decides to focus on a subject but he lacks interest in studying and doing any schoolwork. This is a common dilemma for a lot of parents: how to motivate kids to learn? The truth is children are naturally curious and they like to explore and discover. Your role as a parent should be to direct your child’s curiosity and interest towards something that’s accomplishable and useful to him. Below are some great ideas that can help you to motivate kids to learn and do well in school.

Discover and Encourage

The first step towards motivating your child is to learn what he likes and what he enjoys doing. Get to know your child’s interests. Ask him what he likes to do and what activities he is more interested in. Does he like sports, science, community activities or politics?
Once you know what activities your child most enjoys doing, use them to motivate him to study and finish his school work. If you see improvements and your child actually gets involved in studying and learning, then reward him with the activities that he enjoys. If he is not persistent in focusing on the school work, then withhold those activities until he completes the school work.

Use Learning Toys

use Learning Toys to motivate kids to learnKids always enjoy fun activities that involve playing. Kids also like toys which are their main tools for playing and having fun. Learning toys are excellent motivators that can help your child become interested in learning as part of the play process. The goal is to help your child take the first step towards learning a new subject.

If your child does not show interest in science, try to introduce him to science toys. If he lacks interest in math, use math, number and counting toys to get him involved in a math-learning play activity. If he struggles with writing, then try writing and spelling toys to get him interested in learning words while playing games. Learning toys can help you to show your child how fun learning could be.

Focus on Strengths and Celebrate Achievements

Never scold your child for things that he doesn’t know. Instead try to focus on what he has learned and give him encouragement to work on areas that needs improvement. When your child gets a good grade or accomplishes a milestone, give him praise and celebrate the occasion. The best way to motivate kids to learn is through positive parenting. Nagging and threatening will never motivate kids to learn. As a parent you need to help your child learn how to grow and improve his work, step by step and in his own pace.