PLAY is children’s work in which they are preparing themselves for adult roles and for society at large. For a child, play is the vehicle for exploring and learning, developing new skills, and connecting with others. Through PLAY children practice talking, singing, writing, reading and developing key skills that serve as a foundation for school readiness.
“While often dismissed as ‘just fun’, play is the vital activity that children use to learn about and interact with their world, and gain the mental, physical and social skills necessary to succeed in their adult lives.” (NAEYC)
When children play they engage in conversation, practicing the skills of listening and trying out new words. Play helps a child develop social skills which are important for school success like taking turns and using eye contact, body language and gestures.
Boone County Public Library strives to provide a developmentally appropriate environment that stimulates children’s natural curiosity and creativity. Some of the ways we do this are:
- Discovery Stations: hands-on activities that are available at every location.
- Library Materials: books, music and much more are available for check-out.
- Theme Kits: Ten related theme books, a CD, manipulatives, craft ideas, fingerplays, and songs, all in one kit, available for check-out.
- Family Activity Centers: outfitted with toys and manipulatives especially selected to aid in the development of early literacy skills at the Main Library and Scheben Branch.
- Storytimes: designed to support school readiness through play-based learning activities. BCPL has adopted the initiative, Every Child Ready to Read 2nd Edition @ Your Library which promotes five practices for families to engage in everyday: talking, reading, writing, singing and most importantly PLAY.
Playtime at home is the perfect opportunity to allow children to explore their natural curiosity and creativity. When children play, they increase their physical and creative development. Play contributes to children’s fine and gross motor development and body awareness as they actively use their bodies. Young children develop their creativity by using their imaginations in play. They experiment with problem-solving skills as they learn about different roles in their homes and communities by pretending they are moms, dads, teachers, puppies, etc.
Children often enjoy playing with items found around the home. Pots and pans become a drum set; boxes become a racecar or a spaceship; hair brushes become microphones. The possibilities are endless. Help your child find objects around your home that can transform into something else. Start a collection of lids, boxes, containers and more. Encourage your child to play.
Check out this link found in Teaching Young Children magazine for helpful tips on how play at home. http://www.letsplay.com/
Jennifer Timmerman, a graduate of the Univ. of North Carolina, has worked in both school and public libraries in Florida, North Carolina and Kentucky and shares her love of learning and literature daily as the Youth Services and Outreach Coordinator at Boone County Public Library.