Early Childhood is a time of great learning. It is also a time when learning is fun and effortles. During play, children reach development milestones in four major areas- physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually .
Here is a guideline of 5 principles to consider or keep in mind while scheduling the play activities.
Build Creativity - Creativity is a skill that must be fostered in young children. It is built less by teaching how to be creative, and more by allowing enough opportunities to naturally ignite creativity. There are many ways to build creativity- through stories, discussions, music movement, building with construction blocks etc. One of the best ways to build it is through art activities.
Get Moving - Movement is an important activity that children should be engaging in multiple times a day. When children are moving, they are developing gross motor skills, such as strength, balance, eye- hand and eye- foot coordination , postural control, agility and more. Movement can be unstructured - such as during free play outside- or structured- such as building an obstacle course or playing hopscotch .
Have Fun with Music or Rhymes - Music is an important aspect of a child’s learning. It includes many different activities such as : Learning and Singing Rhymes , Playing with instruments, Learning about rhythm (e.g. marching or tapping to a beat), Learning finger rhymes and action songs, Dancing and moving rhythmically, Saying Poems, Body Percussion.
Balance and Attention Span - Attention Span of the children should be kept in mind i.e. activity should not be planned for more than 10-15 min. There should be appropriate space for the activity. Balance between indoor, outdoor, active- passive and group- individual activity should be maintained and also transition from one activity to another activity should be smooth.
Hands - On learning/Experience - Hands- on learning is the process of learning by actually doing and experiencing something rather than just being told about it. The term ‘hands- on’ is used because these activities usually involve the physical use of the hands. For Example, Counting Cubes and Sorting Objects to understand mathematical concept, rather than just being taught via books or pencil and paper exercises. Messy Play can be a multi- sensory experience , involving sight, touch, smell, sound and even taste. Any activity that involves the hands such as sticking, sorting, moulding helps to develop the fine motor skills.