Hi again, I’m Cindy Mackey, preschool teacher, writer and blogger and I write a regular blog called simply.cindy where I feature learning through play and supporting literacy for young children.
Every second Monday, I’m guest posting here in the hope to spread the message about the importance of learning through play and supporting young children to develop literacy.
What Toy Companies Don’t Want You to Know
Toys that do things for children are not helping their development. When a child pushes a button and the toy does something, the opportunity to use higher level thinking skills is taken away. A child does not need to think when a toy does all the work. So many toys make sounds or move at the push of a button. Children need more intelligent playthings that support better brain development.
The Good News
The really good news about this is that some of the best toys for children are completely free. When you were small, did you ever go into your Mom’s closet and try on her shoes? Did you ever collect sticks or rocks or shells? These are great examples of totally free play experiences that require more thinking skills than a toy with push buttons.
If you need ideas, have a look at pinterest for ways to use items from nature or recycled and repurposed items for play.
A Few Examples
Children can play with sticks, tires, lids, scraps of wood, popsicle sticks, buttons, plastic scoops, paper bags, paper clips, carabiners, clothes pins, short lengths of rope, spools, sand, water, soil, etc. Take a look at my recent blog post that features natural items used in a creative way.
The Link to Literacy
This is all great, you say, but how does this connect to literacy?
When children learn to read, they need to know the alphabet and that each letter makes a particular sound or sounds. Symbolic play supports this because children are used to playing with sticks and pretending that one stick is the dragon and another is the prince. The sticks are symbols for something else as are all the recycled and natural items that children can use for play. Using one item to represent something else is the key to learning numbers and letters and in turn, develop literacy and numeracy.
Learning and play cannot be separated!
Thank you so much, Roberta, for the opportunity to guest post here. Have a wonderful week!