The Benefits of Play-Based Learning

The Benefits of Play-Based Learning

Every child is born with amazing potential and an innate sense of curiosity and discovery that guides their development through the crucial early years. To a child, an empty box could become a house, a car, or a magical cave with monsters and a loot of buried treasure. This sense of wonder and imagination is a powerful tool for young children experiencing the world for the very first time.

Research has shown that children who experience at least 2 years’ quality play-based Early Learning frequently do better in school and outperform children who did not. In the context of play, children are free to explore, experiment discover new things and solve problems in imaginative and playful ways. This kind of educational play ignites children’s natural sense of curiosity, developing the capacity for lifelong learning and building the confidence they need to begin school and take their next big steps in life.

  • Play promotes the deepest kind of learning, encouraging children to become independent learners with the confidence to experiment, discover and solve their own problems
  • Children who have freedom and time to play, both alone and with others, frequently show higher levels of happiness, better empathy and social skills, and fewer behavioural challenges
  • Research has linked declining rates of childhood play over the last 50-60 years to a corresponding increase in depression, anxiety, obesity and diabetes among young children and teens
  • Play develops language, vocabulary and communication skills as children who play together will naturally teach each other new words and phrases
  • Play has been linked to emotional development in young children, by giving them opportunities to express emotions (such as anger, frustration, sadness) in a safe and controlled environment
  • Dramatic play can help children self-soothe and make sense of their experiences.  A child who received a vaccination at the doctor might recreate that situation again and again, by play-acting as a doctor giving an injection to their friends.

In an Early Learning setting, a play-based approach gives way to child-initiated learning that can be supported by the Educators in the room. For example, while children are playing with blocks and loose parts, the Educator can pose questions such as “What can you build? What do you think would happen if we took this piece away?”

At Busy Bees, our learning environments are designed to stimulate and engage children’s natural curiosity and sense of discovery. Our Educators build experiences in the room based on the children’s interests, designing the environments in provoking and inviting ways that encourage exploration, learning and inquiry.


Learn more about early learning, Kindergarten and childhood development

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