Education, STEM Learning

How to Add Play-Based Learning to Your Homeschool Routine

How to Add Play-Based Learning to Your Homeschool Routine
Photo by Tanaphong Toochinda on Unsplash

If you’ve decided to homeschool your children, you know that there’s a lot of freedom involved. That’s very beneficial – mainly because you can attend to your kids’ needs on an individual level. Plus, you can add alternative methods that supply even more benefits than standard instruction. Many parents love interactive education for that reason.

Take a look at the benefits of play-based learning, as well as a few how-tos for your homeschool routine.

  1. What Is Play-Based Learning?

At its core, play-based education reflects your children’s natural tendencies. Kids love to explore, whether on jungle gyms or through roleplay scenarios. Some teachers and parents don’t think that play can be a useful learning tool – but that’s not the case whatsoever! In fact, even as kids play with dolls, their brains compartmentalize distinct skills.

There are three approaches to play-based learning:

  • Unstructured – Children can investigate and discover on their own, without any rules or restrictions.
  • Self-directed – While an adult may suggest options, it’s up to their kid to decide how and when to play.
  • Guided – Here, an adult would create a specific situation with an end goal.

Each strategy offers a separate advantage. You can combine these approaches with other essential types of play, too. For instance, you could set aside time for your youngest children to complete self-guided parallel play. Provide a few sheets of paper and a set of crayons and watch them interact beside one another. As a result, your kids can learn at their own pace without too much assistance.

The core difference between play-based and instruction-based education relies on who’s at the center of the lesson. When a teacher reviews numbers on a whiteboard to an entire class, they’re at the helm. That approach isn’t always wrong, but most children learn better when they’re motivated by their own actions.

  1. The Benefits of Play-Based Learning

Play-based instruction provides many benefits that aren’t related to traditional academic education methods.

Children can use their vibrant imaginations as a way to teach themselves. Then, their brains manage to improve executive function abilities, like memory and attention. Let’s say that you want to create a lesson plan around color. If you reviewed each primary color, set out blocks and supervised a playtime, you’d see that your kids would relate their new knowledge to their play.

Additionally, kids can learn social skills and emotional development through play-based learning. Some days, you could schedule group play with neighborhood children to help boost those necessary traits. It’s true that kids make friends at standard schools, but many can’t do so as they learn. That prospect provides an entirely new level of knowledge.

Sometime, young students can’t handle traditional instruction. It’s either too involved or non-specific, which causes adverse effects like stress. When preschoolers and kindergarteners learn consistently through play, they prepare themselves for future lessons. Plus, they learn to love topics that may seem too confusing otherwise.

One day, your child won’t want to learn science – and after a play session, they’ll want to know tons of information about animals. When kids have a say in their education, they’re more inclined and motivated.

  1. How to Incorporate Play-Based Learning

As a homeschooler, you can afford to structure your day around specific plans. If you already have a set schedule, do your best to adjust accordingly. About an hour of play throughout the day makes a huge difference. Most instructors opt for a “choice time” structure that involves various concepts. You can adopt this method quickly.

First, you’ll want to create a knowledgeable environment. Take a look at your playroom – or wherever else you keep your toys. Try to develop diverse stations. For example, one could be a math center, where your kids can use numbered blocks and other materials. Each area should address a separate subject. Do your best to incorporate sensory objects, too.

Next, set aside time. Many teachers choose around 30 minutes at the start of each day. Then, they tack on a similar slot before the day’s over. You’ll need to shift around a few lessons, but that’s alright – you can alter those plans so that they’re play-friendly. Be sure to use a different method continuously. One morning, your kids can focus on the reading center. In the afternoon, they’ll choose any activity.

Don’t be afraid to experiment, either. If your children seem to gravitate toward one center, you may want to alter the others. In any case, you can watch your kids grow as students and people through play-based education.

  1. Use These Tips to Add Play-Based Learning to Your Lesson Plans

Through play-based learning, your children lead themselves through objectives. They use certain activities to learn vital skills that traditional education methods don’t often address. If you supplement academic lessons with time for play-based learning, your kids will thrive! Use these tips to incorporate this instruction style into your routine.

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