Playing Is Learning!
The importance of play, not just for children but adults as well, can’t be stressed enough. Playing together builds relationships and brains. We can thank the hormone, oxytocin, for this. Oxytocin is released when we hug, laugh and communicate with those we care about. That’s right, the same hormone that bonds a mother to her baby and vice versa is present during play.
Endorphins, the feel good hormones are also released during play. Endorphins are the hormones responsible for “runner’s high”. They are also produced when a synapsis is built in our brain, in other words, when we learn something new!
One of my favourite ways to bond with my children is to rediscover this planet through their eyes.
I put on a video about glowing deep sea creatures (short one, a few minutes long) or (long one, almost an hour). After watching it with the kids, I pull out the Glow In The Dark Playfoam and build my own interpretation of a bioluminescent jelly fish, which is bound to cause laughter, because I completely lack basic art skills.
In my home, my daughter molds an exact replica of an angler fish. My son is more of an out of the box thinker and builds his own glow in the dark creature with several limbs. Both creations are great! The idea is to enjoy the process of learning. Imagination building is just as important as fact recollection in the development of a young mind.
The best part of this activity is asking them to find the darkest room in the house. The kids will turn off the lights, close the curtains and voila! You have a deep sea scene to swim and hide your creatures in. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight to “recharge” your creatures with.
This scene may morph into a space alien showdown, a dance party, etc. Let their imaginations take the lead and keep in mind, the love of learning is (literally) built with love!