The Importance of Play for our Learner with Special Needs
Having our children engage in creative play is an essential element in their development. Play teaches them how to socialize, imagine, work out conflict, and cultivate leadership qualities. That is a lot of growth just in the simple task of playing. So how do we as parents and teachers foster that opportunity. Here are a few tips to equip our learners to play to their best potential.
- Provide toys that foster imagination. This can be a kitchen set, cars/trains, sand
toys, dress up clothes, community helper dolls or action figures, etc. These are just a few examples for learners to imagine themselves as an essential member of society. Whether they are cooking a meal, putting out a fire, holding a baby, teaching, working on a train, or driving a car, they can see themselves doing something exciting and managing the process of how to complete the task.
- As a parent, if you are playing with your child, you can ask questions to get them
thinking how to solve problems and/or conflict. For example, let’s say you are role playing a community helper and your child chooses to be a construction worker. As your navigating the world of construction, you can ask pinpointed questions to spark more curiosity and help to develop a strategy for solving problems. (What can we use as the foundation of our building? You can then talk about what a foundation is, and that it helps to hold up the entire building. You can show use various mediums as the foundation and see which one will hold the best.)
This will enhance problem-solving skills as well as social-emotional growth. Your child will experience processes that don’t work as they engage in play. If they are building and the foundation is wobbly, and their tower falls down, they are given the opportunity to handle this loss and develop something better or improved.
Let’s help our children discover the passion of play and give them time in the day to discover who they are. Set up those creative play dates and let’s get to playing!