Incorporating Play Into the Homeschool DayNovember 22, 2021
Homeschooling can often leave parents feeling overwhelmed as they do their best to reproduce a public school environment in a home setting. But the truth is, you don’t need to copy the public school format to make homeschooling work.
On the contrary, you should take advantage of the flexibility and one-on-one teaching that home education offers to tailor your child’s education.
One of the best ways to do this is by incorporating play into your kids’ curriculum.
Why Play is a Critical Part of Educational Success
It’s easy to see why play is such an important development tool. Children who are allowed to play regularly often show impressive signs of maturity and development.
But what are some of the specific benefits that play has to offer? These are numerous and include the following:
- Play cultivates creativity and curious minds.
- Play relieves stress and anxiety.
- Play helps with social and interpersonal skills.
- Play develops physical skills and dexterity.
- Play encourages the exploration of adult roles in life.
Children tend to struggle with a variety of mental health concerns these days. These span the gamut, from poor academic performance to hyperactive behavior, nightmares, and temper tantrums.
By allowing your children to play, you help them address these issues and develop healthily.
Ways to Incorporate Play Into Your Homeschool Curriculum
Just because you understand how important play isn’t doesn’t mean it’s easy to encourage. If you struggle to find tangible ways to include play in your curriculum, here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Schedule Time for Free Play
The easiest way to encourage play is by scheduling free time. This can take place in a bedroom, a common living space, or even a backyard. In fact, it’s always wise to keep an eye out for a play-friendly home when you’re looking for a house. In general, the goal here should be to find areas that are conducive to play. Then, let your children run free and release them to explore, create, and vent their curiosity.
Gamify the Learning Experience
Another great way to include play in your curriculum is by adopting a play-based approach to teaching. This is much easier to do at younger ages, like preschool and kindergarten. All it requires is providing academic information through the lens of play.
If you have older kids, you can still gamify their learning experience. There are many ideas and even curricula that specialize in making learning more interactive, competitive, and game-oriented.
Have Family Game Nights
Family game nights are a wonderful way to cultivate a playful atmosphere in your home. They open up opportunities to bring your family together in interactive, enjoyable ways. If you want to have family game nights, though, you have to set them up beforehand. The bustle of homeschool life rarely accommodates relaxing family fun nights unless you plan them ahead of time.
Set Up Play Dates
Getting together with friends is a great way to help your kids engage in play. Physical exercise, in particular, is a natural activity that brings friends together. If you know another family with kids the age of your children, try to set up play dates from time to time. Even if your children aren’t close, giving them a chance to play with others will help them develop their social skills.
Attend a Co-op
Attending a homeschool co-op is another way to get your kids moving and have some fun. While this is often organized, it can still be a very play-filled experience. For instance, you can sign them up for a gym period, wilderness studies, and other engagement-focused classes. This can address academic concerns while also encouraging them to have some social fun in the process.
Limit Screen Time
Limiting screen time may feel like the antithesis of play — especially in a world dominated by digital devices. But the truth is, too much screen time can seriously impact your children’s health as well as their social lives. If you want to incorporate play into your homeschool curriculum, make sure it’s the right kind. Outdoor adventures, board games, and playing with friends are all great options. Letting your kids swipe at screens for hours on end is not.
Play is an easy activity to push to the back burner. After all, you need to find time to do school, tend to chores, and keep up with the general bustle of life. Who has time to play? The truth is, though, play should be a priority on your homeschooling to-do list. It yields critical benefits for your children, from their emotional stability to their social abilities and everything in between.
Play can also be a great way to bring your family together. So consider the current state of your playful activities. Are your kids getting regular opportunities to have fun? If not, how can you incorporate more healthy play into their lives? Remember, you’re doing so not just for fun, but in the name of their personal development and maturity.
More About the Author:
Sam Bowman is a writer who enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.
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