Meaningful play is the catalyst for all development and learning– from language acquisition to physical, cognitive, and social skills.
Countless ways exist to make your child’s homeschool and playtime activities more meaningful, like adding STEM toys to a playroom, giving them props to bring their imaginations to life, or rewarding them with Scratch coding for kids on the computer or in a book.
Improving homeschool, playtime and other activities is not just for kids! Adults can also enhance their days with meaningful activities. Entertain yourself with purpose
Keep your mind sharp as you age using STEM toys for adults like the following.
Below are some simple ways to enhance homeschool activities and to make meaningful play that will enhance the learning experience for your child!
- What is Meaningful Play?
- Understanding the Value of Play
- Legos For Meaningful Play
- STEM Toys For Meaningful Play
- How Do Children Learn Through Meaningful Play?
- Why It’s Important to Include Meaningful Play in Homeschool
- Simple Ways to Enhance Learning Through Play
- 1. Create a place in the homeschool where children can play
- 2. Provide toys that encourage creativity and problem-solving skills
- 3. Encourage outdoor playtime with friends, or create an indoor space for playing alone
- 4. Seek out new ways to learn through meaningful play
- 5. Use Puppets
- 6. Get movin’
- 7. Make it fun!
- 8. Create Parent Buy-In
- 9. Use Technology
- 9. Get Organized
- 10. Make it a habit
- 11. Encourage Imagination
What is Meaningful Play?
Whether your child is enrolled in homeschool or not, it is essential to find simple ways to enhance learning through play because play is essential for a child’s development and learning. Play helps children make sense of the world around them and learn new skills.
Meaningful play and homeschool activities give children instant feedback through play that affects all five senses, emotions, memories, problem-solving skills, and other important brain mental functions.
While any play is probably good, you should not settle for just any play.
Instead, try to maximize meaningful play.
Making play meaningful is one of the best and most simple ways to enhance learning through play.
Play means in this context the activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, especially by children.
Meaningful means in this context having a serious, important, or useful quality or purpose.
Therefore, meaningful play is an activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, especially by children, where the activity has a serious, important, or useful quality or purpose.
This means the meaningful play and an excellent activity for homeschool and it should include the following factors.
- For enjoyment and recreation
- Serious, important or useful
Meaningful play occurs when a child is fully engaged in an activity and is using their imagination to create a story or scenario.
So one simple way to enhance homeschool learning through play is to observe what kind of play your child enjoys and is self-motivated to do already.
Then gradually add or change one thing about their play that makes the play more useful or important.
For instance, if your child enjoys drawing but does not yet know how to write, find ways to get your child to draw letters. Although drawing letters will not make your kid literate, it can help make your child’s homeschool play more useful and therefore meaningful by introducing your child to letters in a playful way.
When it comes time for your child to start learning to write, they will already be familiar with the shapes and existence of the letters and can accelerate towards learning even more about writing.
When looking for simple ways to enhance homeschool learning through play, emphasize the simple ways part of the phrase.
Using simple ways to enhance learning through play helps ensure that your attempts to enhance the learning do not interfere with the actual learning or the actual play.
If your attempts to enhance homeschool learning through play become too complicated, it might actually backfire and prevent your kids from wanting to play or learn like before.
Meaningful play comes in many different forms, but all types are important for children’s growth.
Meaningful play is a simple way to enhance learning through play for children’s cognitive development.
As children learn to think creatively and problem solve, they also gain social skills as they learn how to interact with others and negotiate conflicts.
Meaningful play is an excellent and simple ways to enhance homeschool learning through play.
Understanding the Value of Play
It is important for parents to understand the value of play for homeschool learning and generally speaking, too. Parents need to provide plenty of opportunities for their children to engage in meaningful play.
Here are some reasons why meaningful play is so important:
- Meaningful play helps children learn new skills.
- Meaningful play allows children to explore their interests and passions.
- Meaningful play encourages creativity and problem solving.
- Meaningful play strengthens social skills.
- Meaningful play is FUN!
Legos For Meaningful Play
Legos are entertaining and educational toys that are one of the most popular and simple ways to enhance learning through play.
If your child learns in a homeschool, Legos are a serious learning tool for children despite being perceived by many as just a toy.
Legos are interconnectable building blocks and other engineering tools kids can use to build. For instance, Lego sets include those for building boats, houses, Star Wars aircrafts, Harry Potter scenes, tree houses, and the list goes on forever.
If you can imagine it, you can build it with Legos and they probably even have a set for it with instructions on how.
Legos are great for enhancing homeschool learning because they help develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and creative thinking. They also promote problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Legos are a great way for children to learn about shapes, colors, and sizes. They can also be used to teach kids about patterns and sequencing.
Playing with Legos is a great way for kids to learn how to follow instructions and build something from start to finish. Legos are also a lot of fun!
Check out our article about Legos to learn how to give your child meaningful play activities.
LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Building Set Includes 3 Interactive Servo Motors, Remote Control, Improved And Redesigned Color Sensor, Redesigned Touch Sensor, Infrared Sensor And 550+ LEGO Technic Elements
LEGO Star Wars: OBI-Wan Kenobi Inquisitor Transport Scythe 75336 Building Toy Set for Kids, Boys, and Girls Ages 9+ (924 Pieces)
LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets 76389 Building Toy Set for Kids, Boys, and Girls Ages 9+ (1176 Pieces)
LEGO Creator 3in1 Space Shuttle Adventure 31117 Building Kit; Cool Toys for Kids Who Love Rockets and Creative Fun; New 2021 (486 Pieces)
STEM Toys For Meaningful Play
STEM toys are excellent for enhancing homeschool learning through meaningful play. STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.
When it comes to educational toys, few things are more versatile or beneficial than STEM toys.
STEM toys are designed to teach kids about science, technology, engineering, and math – four of the most important subjects they will learn in school.
Here are some of the fun ways STEM toys can help your kids learn and grow through meaningful play.
- help kids develop critical thinking skills.
- encourage kids to experiment and explore.
- teach kids how to solve problems.
- help kids understand how the world works.
- promote creativity and imagination.
- nurture a love of learning in kids.
- provide a challenge for kids to overcome.
- build confidence in kids.
- develop important life skills.
STEM toys therefore are toys that focus on engaging kids in activities that strengthen their understanding of core STEM activities and skills.
Amazon has lots of highly reviewed and very popular STEM toys of all kinds for people of all ages and interests.
Check out our list of the best STEM toys where we review the following toys.
Toys for 3-7 Year Old Boys Girls, Fronor Dinosaur Building Wooden Blocks STEM Montessori Educational Stacking Toys Birthday Toys Gifts for 3 4 5 6 7 Year Old Girls Gifts
Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Kids Microscope, Preschool Science Toy, Featuring Bindi Irwin, Gift for Boys & Girls, STEM & Science Toy, Ages 4+
Osmo – Coding Starter Kit for iPad – 3 Educational Learning Games – Ages 5-10+ – Learn to Code, Coding Basics & Coding Puzzles – STEM Toy (Osmo iPad Base Included)
Kids Toys Stem Dinosaur Toy: Take Apart Dinosaur Toys for kids 3-5| Learning Educational Building construction Sets with Electric Drill| Birthday Gifts for Toddlers Boys Girls Age 3 4 5 6 7 8 Year Old
Plugo STEM Pack by PlayShifu – Count, Letters & Link (3in1) | Math, Words, Magnetic Blocks, Puzzles | 4-10 Years STEM Toys | Gift Boys & Girls (Works with iPads, iPhones, Samsung tabs, Kindle Fire)
Osmo – Detective Agency – Ages 5-12 – Solve Global Mysteries – STEM Toy – For iPad or Fire Tablet (Osmo Base Required)
HomeTTER Educational Building Toys STEM Learning Kit, 10 in 1 Construction Blocks for Preschool Kids, 108 Pieces Engineering Toys Creative Set Gift for Boys and Girls Age 5 6 7 8 9 10+ Years Old
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Earth Science Kit – Over 15 Science Experiments & STEM Activities for Kids, Crystal Growing, Erupting Volcanos, 2 Dig Kits & 10 Genuine Specimens, an AMAZON EXCLUSIVE Science Kit
There are a variety of STEM toys available that can help kids enhance their learning.
These toys are designed to help kids develop important skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity.
One of the best things about STEM toys is that they can be used in a variety of ways. For example, some stem toys can be used to build simple machines or structures.
Others can be used to program robots or code computer games. And still others can be used to conduct scientific experiments.
No matter how they are used, STEM toys are a great way for kids to learn and have fun at the same time. If you are looking for a way to help your child enhance homeschool learning, consider giving them STEM toys to play with.
How Do Children Learn Through Meaningful Play?
Children learn through play in a number of different ways and not all kids prefer or respond to the same play in the same ways.
Therefore, it is important to find play for your child that suits their individual preferences and situation. By customizing the play to the child’s needs, it is more likely they will engage in the activity generally and therefore in the meaningful aspect of the activity as well.
This may make them more engage in homeschool learning, too.
When children are engaged in meaningful play, they practice important skills that children and adults need later in life. They are learning to think critically, solve problems, create memories, have successes and failures, overcome challenges, and communicate with others.
Homeschool play is also a great way for children to explore their interests and passions. Through play, they can try out new things and learn more about themselves.
Finally, meaningful play is a fun way for children to learn. Sometimes kids are so wrapped up in the fun and entertaining parts of the play and do not even realize the importance and usefulness of the play. And that is totally okay.
When children are enjoying themselves, they are more likely to retain the information they are learning and to repeat the activity. Perfect for homeschool.\
Why It’s Important to Include Meaningful Play in Homeschool
Including meaningful play in the homeschool classroom can have a number of benefits for students.
When children are given the opportunity to engage in meaningful play, they are more likely to be engaged in homeschool class. This can lead to improved academic performance and engagement.
Play can also help children develop social and emotional skills in homeschool . When children are able to work together in a play scenario, they are practicing important skills like communication and cooperation. This can help them develop strong relationships with their homeschool classmates.
Simple Ways to Enhance Learning Through Play
Here are a few simple ways to enhance homeschool learning through play in your classroom or childcare setting:
1. Create a place in the homeschool where children can play
Among the simple ways to enhance learning through play is to create a designated play area that contains toys and activities that enhance the child’s recreation. This can make homeschool play more meaningful by adding significance to the play by designating a special place for and also by stacking the odds in favor of your child selecting an activity that is useful and not just purely recreation.
That doesn’t mean you kids should think of it as the only place to play. However, hopefully your child associates their time in that space with recreation and entertainment in addition to it being important and useful.
This could be a designated playroom, or simply an area where children are allowed to explore and experiment.
Giving children a space to play without restrictions that is filled with useful activities will help them learn more about themselves and the world around them.
Encourage imaginative play
Imaginative play is a great way for children to learn new skills and explore their interests. You can encourage imaginative play by providing a range of props and materials for children to use.
Imaginative play is great for developing creativity, expressing oneself, and communicating with others.
One of the most simple ways to enhance homeschool learning through play then is to make it easy and fun for your child to engage in imaginative play by taking an activity they already do and adding props and materials.
Another simple way is to put props and materials in a playroom where they already engage in other meaningful play activities.
Set up group activities
Group activities are a great way for children to learn social skills and engage in meaningful play. Try setting up activities that require teamwork, or that involve negotiations and conflicts.
Let children lead the way
When possible, let children choose the types of play they want to engage in. This will help them learn more about their interests and passions.
It may take time for children to get used to playing in a classroom or childcare setting. Be patient and give them time to adjust.
2. Provide toys that encourage creativity and problem-solving skills
Toys that require children to think critically and problem solve are perfect for enhancing learning through play. Try giving children puzzles, blocks, or art supplies.
3. Encourage outdoor playtime with friends, or create an indoor space for playing alone
Outdoor playtime is a great way for children to get exercise and learn about their environment. If weather permits, try taking your class or group outside for some play time.
If outdoor play is not an option, create an indoor space for children to play on their own. This could be a room filled with child-sized furniture and toys, or simply a space with enough room for children to run around.
4. Seek out new ways to learn through meaningful play
There are endless ways to learn through meaningful play. Be creative and think of activities that will interest your students or child care group.
When it comes to homeschool learning, there is no better way than through play! These simple ideas can help you get started in enhancing learning through play in your classroom or home setting.
5. Use Puppets
Another great way to enhance learning through play is by using puppets. Puppets can help children learn new vocabulary, practice their communication skills, and explore their emotions. If you’re looking for a fun and educational activity, consider using puppets in your classroom or home setting!
6. Get movin’
Physical activity is a great way to promote learning. Try incorporating some simple movement activities into your lesson plans. For example, you could have students stand up and move around every few minutes, or try using music to get everyone moving and dancing.
7. Make it fun!
The most important thing to remember when trying to enhance learning through play is to make it fun! If children are enjoying themselves, they’ll be more likely to retain the information they’re learning. So get creative and have fun with it!
8. Create Parent Buy-In
One of the best ways to ensure that children are learning through play is to create a buy-in from their parents. Ask parents to send in materials or toys that can be used in the classroom or home setting. You could also ask parents to volunteer in the classroom or help out with special activities. This will help children feel more comfortable and engaged in the learning process.
9. Use Technology
There’s no doubt that children love using technology. When used correctly, technology can be a great way to enhance learning through play. There are many educational apps and websites that are designed specifically for children. You could also use technology to create fun and interactive games or activities.
9. Get Organized
One of the best ways to enhance learning through play is by being organized. This means having an adequate amount of materials and toys for children to use, as well as setting up activities in a way that encourages exploration and creativity. Try using different areas in your classroom or home setting for different types of play. This will help keep everything organized and easily accessible for children.
10. Make it a habit
The best way to ensure that children are learning through play is to make it a habit. Try incorporating a few of these ideas into your daily routine, and see how much more fun and educational your classroom or home setting can be!
11. Encourage Imagination
Encouraging imagination is one of the best ways to promote learning through play. When children use their imaginations, they’re more likely to be engaged and excited about learning new things. So don’t be afraid to let your students or child care group run wild with their imaginations!
What if my child isn’t interested in playing?
Don’t worry – not all children are naturally inclined to play. You can still encourage learning through play by providing a variety of activities and materials, and by allowing children to explore their interests.
How much play is enough?
There is no one answer to this question. Each child is different and will engage in different levels of play. Try to provide a variety of opportunities for children to play, and let them lead the way when it comes to choosing activities.
What should I do if my child has a behavior issue during playtime?
If a child is having difficulty behaving during playtime, try to redirect them to another activity or set a limit on the amount of time they can spend playing. Make sure to talk to the child’s parents about any behavior issues that arise.
Play is essential for children’s development and learning. It helps them learn new skills, explore their interests, and socialize with others. By using these simple tips, you can help enhance learning through play in your classroom or childcare setting.
Meaningful play is essential for children’s development and learning. Play helps children learn new skills, explore their interests, and socialize with others. By using these simple tips, you can help enhance learning through play in your classroom or childcare setting.
Try incorporating group activities, outdoor playtime, and new ways to learn through play into your routine – your children will thank you for it!
You can even incorporate more meaning into your own adult life!
Adding meaning to activities is not just for play and not just for kids. In fact, it is very important for people of all ages to maintain their mental health, and one way to improve your mental wellness, like memory, happiness, purpose, and others, is to play games. Like scrabble, Sudoku, Wordle, memory games, and others.
Although many games feel like pure recreation, you actually are entertaining yourself in addition to engaging in meaningful play by working your brain in ways that are good for your overall mental wellbeing.
It is never too late to add more purpose and meaning to any activity, whether it be a playful one or some other kind of activity.