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Published Apr 15, 2024 ⦁ 15 min read
Learning Through Play at Home: A Guide

Learning Through Play at Home: A Guide

Quick Guide: Learning Through Play at Home


  • What is Learning Through Play? It's how kids learn by engaging in activities they enjoy, which boosts creativity, decision-making, and more.
  • Importance of Play: Essential for development, play enhances thinking skills, social interaction, and physical health.
  • Creating a Playful Home Environment: Suggestions include setting up a dedicated play area and using apps like Kidtivity Lab for activity ideas.
  • Integrating Play into Daily Routines: Transform chores into games and balance free play with structured activities.
  • Playful Learning Activities By Age: Tailored ideas for toddlers, preschoolers, and early elementary kids to keep learning fun and age-appropriate.
  • Overcoming Common Challenges: Tips for dealing with space limitations, budget constraints, managing screen time, and busy schedules.
  • Encouraging Different Types of Play: Strategies for promoting physical, cognitive, and social play.

Playing at home is crucial for a child's development, offering a blend of fun and learning. By setting up engaging activities and providing the right environment, parents can significantly enhance their child's growth in all areas.

What is Learning Through Play?

Learning through play is a way kids learn by doing things they enjoy, like playing games or using their imagination, instead of just listening to someone teach them. It's about letting kids choose what they want to do, getting involved in activities, and having fun while they learn new things. They get to try, make mistakes, and try again, which helps them understand and remember better. Parents and caregivers can help by suggesting activities but letting the kids lead the way.

Key points include:

  • Kids choose what they want to do
  • They learn by being active, not just watching or listening
  • Playing makes learning fun
  • Making mistakes and trying again is a big part of learning
  • Adults can help by guiding but not taking over

In simple terms, learning through play means using the fun and curiosity of being a kid to help them learn and grow in all areas of life.

Why is Play Important for Development?

Play is super important for kids to grow up healthy and smart. It helps with:

Thinking Skills

  • Helps kids plan and make decisions
  • Makes them more creative and better at solving problems
  • Helps with reading, math, and other school subjects

Getting Along with Others

  • Helps kids feel confident and handle challenges
  • Teaches how to work in a team, share, and understand others
  • Lets kids try new things and handle stress

Moving and Doing

  • Makes them more coordinated and aware of their bodies
  • Improves skills like running, jumping, and drawing
  • Keeps them fit and healthy

So, playing is not just fun; it's a key part of learning and growing. When kids play, they develop important skills they need for life, like thinking, getting along with others, and being active.

Creating a Playful Home Environment

Making a special spot for play at home is a great way to help kids learn through play. Here's how to set up a safe and fun play area, and how the Kidtivity Lab app can suggest activities that fit right in.

Setting Up a Dedicated Play Area

  • Pick a safe spot - Find a space like a part of the living room or basement where kids can play without getting hurt. Make sure it's free from things they can trip over and that all sharp corners are covered.

  • Keep toys and supplies in order - Use shelves or boxes to organize toys and art stuff. Change up the toys from time to time to keep it interesting.

  • Add things to climb and jump on - If you have room, a small slide, tunnel, or mini trampoline can make playtime more fun.

  • Put down something soft - Carpets or foam mats are good for cushioning falls. Use these to mark the play area.

  • Furniture just their size - Small tables, chairs, or a play kitchen can encourage pretend play.

  • Show schedules and rules - Hang up a playtime schedule or pictures of simple safety rules.

Incorporating the Kidtivity Lab App

The Kidtivity Lab app helps you find activities that are just right for your child's age and what they like to do.

  • Look up fun things to do - The app has lots of play ideas. Keep track of the ones you want to try.
  • Find activities for your toys - If you scan your toys' barcodes, the app can suggest new ways to play with them.
  • Get suggestions that fit your child's age - Put in your child's birthday, and the app will show activities that are perfect for their stage of growth.
  • Choose hands-on activities - You can look for activities that get kids moving, like arts and crafts or building things.
  • Talk to other parents - The app lets you join groups where you can ask questions, share tips, and show pictures of your kids having fun with the activities.

With a bit of planning, you can make a great play area at home. Add in the Kidtivity Lab app for ideas, and you've got everything you need to make learning through play easy and fun.

Integrating Play into Daily Routines

Making Chores Playful

Turning everyday tasks into fun games can make them more fun for kids. Here are some simple ways to do this:

  • Cooking and baking - Let kids help with measuring and mixing. You can also have them guess ingredients by smell with their eyes closed.

  • Cleaning up - Make a game of who can pick up the most toys in one minute. Use stickers as prizes for filling up a bin. Put on some music and dance while cleaning.

  • Getting dressed - Create a 'silly clothes day' where kids wear clothes in a funny way, like mismatched socks. Make it a game to dress up.

  • Running errands - Give them a small toy to play with while waiting, or let them help with the shopping list.

Achieving the Right Balance

It's good to mix things up between planned activities and letting kids choose what they want to do. Here's how you could structure a day:

  • Morning routine - Use the morning for more planned activities to help kids start the day.
  • After school - Give them 30-60 minutes of their own playtime before any planned activities.
  • Evenings - Keep the evenings for free play so they can relax before bedtime.

Plan a weekly schedule that includes time for both types of play. Every day, kids should have 1-2 hours to play on their own. When they're playing by themselves, check in now and then with questions about what they're doing, but let them lead. Finding this balance is key to helping kids be creative, focused, and love learning.

Playful Learning Activities By Age

As kids grow, they like and can do different things. It's fun to find activities that fit what they're good at and interested in. Here are some ideas for what to do with kids at different ages:

Toddlers (1-3 years)

Toddlers love to touch and try things over and over. They're learning to use their hands, talk more, and pretend.

  • Build towers with blocks and knock them down
  • Sort toys by color or shape
  • Sing songs with actions like "Wheels on the Bus"
  • Read books with flaps they can lift
  • Play with dolls, cars, and stuffed animals
  • Play with water by filling and pouring in the bath
  • Have fun sticking stickers on paper or themselves

Preschoolers (3-5 years)

Preschoolers are starting to understand symbols, ask questions, and play with friends.

  • Dress up and play pretend
  • Make things with blocks, boxes, or other stuff
  • Paint with fingers and see what happens when colors mix
  • Learn letters and numbers with flashcards
  • Dance to music and try simple dance moves
  • Look for things inside or outside with a scavenger hunt
  • Play games like Follow the Leader that get them moving

Early Elementary (6-8 years)

Kids this age can follow game rules better and are good at moving their bodies. They can try more complicated things.

  • Set up a fun course with things to crawl through and jump over
  • Play games together like card games or board games
  • Try out a sport like t-ball or soccer
  • Put on shows with costumes and music
  • Do simple science experiments like making a volcano
  • Build big things with Lego or Magnetiles
  • Play thinking games like Guess Who or Simon Says

The main thing is to pick activities that match what your child can do and likes. Keep it fun and active. The Kidtivity Lab app can help you find activities that are just right for your child's age and what they're into.


Overcoming Common Challenges

Sometimes, it's tough to fit play into everyday life because of busy schedules, not having enough space, worrying about money, or thinking about how much time kids spend on screens. But, there are creative ways to get past these hurdles.

Lack of Dedicated Play Space

If you don't have a lot of room for play, try these tips:

  • Use furniture like bookshelves or big boxes to make a small play area in a corner of a room.
  • Only keep a few toys out at a time and switch them with others every week to keep things fresh.
  • When the weather's nice, play outside. You can use a picnic blanket or bring out toys like chalk and balls.
  • Go to places like playgrounds or children's museums for more space to play.

Budget Constraints

You don't need to spend a lot of money on toys. Here are some ideas that don't cost much:

  • Look around your house for things like plastic containers or cardboard boxes that can be turned into toys.
  • Check out thrift stores or garage sales for cheap toys and games.
  • Get creative and make toys. You can make play dough at home or create games with things you already have.
  • The Kidtivity Lab app has lots of free ideas for play, and you can also swap toys with other parents.

Balancing Screen Time

It's important to limit how much time kids spend on screens, but you can use it wisely:

  • Play educational games together on a tablet or computer, but keep it to 30 minutes a day.
  • Use apps like Kidtivity Lab to find activities and talk to other parents.
  • Watch shows or videos that are good for kids and get them moving and learning.
  • Use your phone to record your kids doing fun things like putting on a show or building something.

Finding Time in Busy Schedules

When you're really busy, here are some ways to sneak in some playtime:

  • Turn chores into fun games.
  • Wake up 30 minutes earlier to have some playtime in the morning.
  • Take short play breaks between doing other things.
  • Spend 30 minutes playing before bedtime.
  • Pick a special activity to do together on the weekend.

Even when things are busy, you can find ways to make sure play is a part of your child's day. It makes them happier and helps them learn better.

Encouraging Different Types of Play

Promoting Physical Play

Getting kids to move around is important for their health and helps them get better at things like running, jumping, and balancing. Here are some fun ways to do it:

  • Make a fun course in your yard with things like toys and boxes. Have kids move through it by crawling, running, and jumping.
  • Try old-school games like tag or duck duck goose.
  • Toss a ball back and forth and see how long you can keep it up without dropping it.
  • Take a walk outside. Let them climb, jump, or race in safe spots.
  • Put on some music and dance, letting them make up their own moves.
  • Create a fort inside with blankets and furniture for a fun hideout.

Change up the activities and if you can, play outside. But if it's raining or too cold, find ways to move around inside. The main thing is to have fun and not worry too much about being perfect.

Boosting Cognitive Play

This kind of play makes kids think and learn. Some activities include:

  • Simple puzzles and games for little ones.
  • Building toys like Lego for creating and solving problems.
  • Arts and crafts for making things and being creative.
  • Pretend play for coming up with stories and acting them out.
  • Board and card games for planning and learning rules.

Ask them about what they're doing to help them think more about it. Let them lead the play and figure things out on their own.

Enhancing Social Play

Playing with others teaches kids about friendship, talking, and understanding feelings. Here's how to help:

  • Have friends over for playdates where they can dress up or build something together.
  • Share toys and take turns. Use timers or give everyone a special job.
  • Choose games where everyone works together instead of competing.
  • Talk after playing to hear what they liked or found hard.
  • Show them how to be nice, share, and solve problems while playing.

Watch them play at first to make sure they're getting along. Let them try to fix their own problems, but be ready to help if they need it.


Playing is a really good way for kids to learn and grow. When they play, they get better at thinking, making friends, moving around, being creative, and lots more.

Having time to play at home is super important for kids to develop well. You can make a special place for play, mix play into everyday things, use apps like Kidtivity Lab for new ideas, and pick play activities that are just right for how old your child is and what they like.

Sometimes it might seem hard because there’s not enough room or time, but you can find ways to make it work. The key things to remember are:

  • Make sure there’s time for play that kids choose themselves and some planned activities.
  • Encourage all kinds of play - like running around, playing with others, and being creative.
  • Talk to your kids about what they’re playing but let them make the decisions.
  • Always aim to keep playtime fun!

If you mix playing and learning together, it not only makes being a parent a bit easier but also helps your child do really well. Use this guide to make everyday life more fun and give your child a great start!

How do you teach learning through play?

To teach kids with play, here are some tips:

  • Let kids pick what they want to learn about by playing with things they like.
  • Have kids play together so they can learn from each other.
  • Encourage kids to try new things without being afraid of making mistakes.
  • Create playtime without strict rules so kids can use their imagination.
  • Understand that kids might have different feelings during play and help them talk about it.

The main point is to let kids lead their own learning by playing, with adults helping along the way.

What the science says about learning through play?

Studies tell us that playing is a great way for kids to learn because:

  • It makes learning fun and interesting.
  • Play connects to things kids know and care about.
  • Playing with hands-on activities keeps kids involved.
  • Trying and fixing mistakes during play helps with problem-solving.
  • Playing with others teaches teamwork.

In short, playing helps kids learn important skills in a way that sticks.

How can I facilitate play at home?

Here's how you can make playtime great at home:

  • Set up a safe area where kids can play freely.
  • Listen to what your kids are interested in and support them.
  • Suggest ideas to spark their creativity.
  • Use playtime as a chance to bond with your kids.

Giving kids time to play on their own lets them grow in confidence and creativity.

What is guided play learning?

Guided play is when kids choose what to play, but adults help steer the learning. It's a mix of:

  • Kids having the freedom to pick their play.
  • Setting up play to meet learning goals.
  • Adults giving hints and asking questions to guide the play.

This approach lets kids play in a way that's fun and still focused on learning.

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