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  • Writer's pictureKa Hana Pono

May we always feel the freedom and security to give life a "spin."

When your child plays with blocks, she is working with balance, symmetry, and geometry as she explores the different shapes and how they work together. Watch closely and you will see her use problem-solving and decision-making skills as she uses trial and error to create a way to keep her structure from falling down. These same skills will be needed later for math and science experimentation in school. 

When your child plays with puzzles and table toys, she is working with the small muscle and coordination skills that are critical to her learning how to read and write. As you watch her experiment with fitting puzzle pieces together or building with small construction toys, you can see that she is using spatial and analytical thinking as she tries many different ways to make the pieces work. 

When your child plays with art materials, she is expressing her creative ideas, thoughts, and feelings through exploring the nature of color, shape, paint, paper, and clay. As you watch her try to tape objects to paper or build something out of empty boxes, you can trust that she is building the same brainstorming and critical thinking skills that scientists use when confronted with a problem to solve. 

When your child plays pretend, she is using her imagination to pretend to be somebody—or something—thus building self-awareness. Imaginary play builds the important linguistic and social-interaction skills needed to participate in group activities in school. As you watch her pretend that the couch is a dragon and you are the princess she needs to save, you are seeing her use creative thinking as she develops the ability to look at things in symbolic and flexible ways. Studies have shown that creative thinking and brainstorming are the key elements to meeting the ever-changing challenges of school and life. 

Finally, it is important to end by mentioning the impact play has on emotions. 

Positive emotional experiences actually assist the brain in storing and utilizing new information. Through imaginative play and experimentation in a non-judgmental environment, children learn about their feelings and their world. 

Did you ever see your child purposefully spin around and around until she got dizzy and fell down? What a feeling—losing your balance and getting it back again! May we always feel the freedom and security to give life a “spin.” 


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