Early Childhood

Learning Science Concepts through Play

Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:52 PM

I have been thinking a lot about young children and how curious these children are. They are full of questions..some can be investigated, some can not. These children need to be involved in experiences. That is where the questions begin. I am reminded of a quote "Play is children's work."

I am going to attach an article that certainly might provoke some wondering for teachers of young children.

kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathleen Renfrew
33360 Activity Points

Fri May 09, 2014 3:01 PM

This is a very interesting concept to me. I just recently learned that learning through play is actually educational as well as beneficial for children.

Kadian Smalling
Kadian Smalling
200 Activity Points

Mon May 12, 2014 9:57 AM

Kathy,

Thanks for sharing this link. It fits perfectly into a course I am teaching.

Your quote about "Play is children's work" led me to check out the quote on Google which led me to a great video with that title on YouTube. Here is the link...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FR5pO_85fMk

Betty

Betty Paulsell
Betty Paulsell
48505 Activity Points

Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:24 AM

Thank you for sharing this link! This is a very interesting concept to me as well and adding science to their play is something worth looking into

Carly Segovia
Carly Segovia
1215 Activity Points

Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:15 AM

Thank you for sharing this, Kathy!

I have always thought that play is SO essential for children, and stifling that innate curiosity can inhibit students from becoming lifelong learners. With collaboration and fine motor skills, children are able to learn the skills that allow them to become lifelong learners and aid in their success of different walks of life. This article has definitely sparked a thought about young children and play, and I hope to incorporate this more in my classroom.

Do you teach young children? If so, how do you incorporate play into different subjects?

Caria



10 Activity Points

Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:05 AM

For more on science for young children, see Peggy Ashbrook's column in the Science & Children journal and her Early Years blog.

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
7505 Activity Points

Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:23 PM

Writings about children's play often educate me on the value of observing play to understand children's thinking and problem-solving. See these webpages and attached files for more on play. The NAEYC's "Play, Policy and Practice Interest Forum" is another valuable resource.
Peggy

Videatives Views blog--http://videatives.com/blog/2014/04/issue-184-a-one-year-old-...esistible/
Reclaiming Play: Helping Children Learn and Thrive in School--http://www.nancycarlssonpaige.org/articles10.html
A Conversation with Vivian Gussin Paley--http://www.naeyc.org/content/conversation-vivian-gussin-paley

Peggy Ashbrook
Margaret Ashbrook
6270 Activity Points

Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:54 PM

Those are some great resources!! I think that it is a great idea for kids to learn science through play.

Sarah Perkins
Sarah Perkins
3165 Activity Points

Wed May 07, 2014 5:16 PM

Thank you, Peggy, for all those great resources. I plan to share them with my preservice teachers!
Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79588 Activity Points

Thu May 08, 2014 12:14 AM

At the preschool I work in the children are required to play for at least half of the program length. We try to make this playtime educational without the children knowing. We encourage the play by putting out math manipulatives (dinosaurs, teddy bears, and sea creatures in water), art, and science discovery center.

Kate Schroeder
Kate Schroeder
400 Activity Points

Mon May 19, 2014 7:15 PM

Katie,

The policy sounds like an awesome one! We need to create multiple opportunities for ALL our children to play. I was wondering ..do the children in the preschool go outside for a set period of time for free play? If yes, what does that look like?

Thanks for sharing.

Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathleen Renfrew
33360 Activity Points

Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:19 AM

I teach in a pre- k and our program is a learn through play program. While we do some traditional work, majority of our work is hands on like rolling letters out of play dough, making playdough for science, eating apples to graph and see what type is favored, carving pumpkins to group, sort and count seeds etc.... the children are able to play for 1.5 hrs throuogh out the day at centers and then we have 1.5 hrs of out side do what ever you want on the play ground time. We have park like toys out there as well as sand boxes with castle building equipment, play houses, play cars, doll houses and coordination toys. There is plenty of activities for the children to get their creative juices flowing and move their muscles.

Nichole Thomas
Nichole Thomas
10 Activity Points

Wed May 21, 2014 12:39 PM

Thank you all for your ideas about learning science concepts through play. This reminds me of the Forest Kindergarten video trailer David Sobel showed at his NSTA conference presentation.
I must admit that I cringed watching young children using matches and knives but was interested to hear the parents reactions. Sadly I also thought of the deer tick epidemic we having in Maine right now and many parents are concerned about their children playing outside near fields and forested areas.



Here in midcoast Maine a Forest Kindergarten is forming. Any thoughts about Forest Kindergarten and learning through play experiences.

School’s Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten (a film by Lisa Molomot and Rona Richter)
This documentary trailer emphasizes the rich lessons very young children may draw from experiential education in a forest setting.
http://vimeo.com/73469081

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
41745 Activity Points

Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:21 PM

Hi All:
I understand the need to play to learn but it can also be used with higher grades as well. I once gave my high school physics class a bunch of batteries, bulbs and wires and told them to just play to see what they could learn from their play. First of all, they said they were never were given these tools to play with. Secondly, as older students they were able to glean a great deal of information that was later explained by theory.
Isn't the same as the 5E method where exploration is just a fancier way to play and learn.
Adah

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101470 Activity Points

Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:12 PM

Adah

I so agree with you. I think I will start this conversation in the elementaryforums because I certainly included play as part of my 5/6 science instruction.

thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathleen Renfrew
33360 Activity Points

Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:05 PM

As a special education teacher I have to teach my students how to play. Whenever possible I incorporate play as part of the lesson plan, particularly at the onset of the lesson as I determine prior knowledge or work to build knowledge. Working with this population I wholeheartedly recommend the ability to incorporate play as part of an inclusion setting, sometimes that is the easiest (least anxiety ridden) way for my students to engage in an inclusion setting.

Margaret Stout
Margaret Stout
3400 Activity Points

Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:36 AM

Margaret,
What a wonderful way to include play in an inclusive setting. Play does help with those kinds of concerns about ability. Best, Arlene

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
41745 Activity Points

Mon Sep 15, 2014 6:04 PM

Margaret-

I also teach children K-5 with special needs. I have found they typically can learn more playing 30 minutes of fun, curriculum-aligned games that they would during 100 hours of lecturing or reading!

All the best,

Naomi Beverly

Naomi Beverly
Naomi Beverly
19130 Activity Points

Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:22 PM

I had the pleasure of co-teaching a week of camp with museum educator Sarah Erdman. I read her blog posts at Cabinet of Curiosities, including this one on play.

Peggy Ashbrook
Peggy Ashbrook
6270 Activity Points

Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:33 PM

Peggy,

Thank you for sharing this resource. I am hoping many educators do a close read of this blog and think about the ideas offered as they embark on this new year of learning.

I am sharing it in hopes the message gets out to many, many educators.

Play is the work of a child.

Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathleen Renfrew
33360 Activity Points

Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:59 PM

Here is another resource about the value of children's play, from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, in the form of memos from ECE to other stakeholders:
Defining and Advocating for Play
[i]Knowing that there are numerous definitions of play and its role in young children's
development and learning, NAEYC invited several early childhood educators to write
their own definitions. These pieces are published in the May 2014 issue of [i]Young
Children[/i], which focuses on play in the early childhood years. We hope these thoughts inspire you to consider how you might define the role of play in early childhood. [/i]

Peggy Ashbrook
Margaret Ashbrook
6270 Activity Points

Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:16 AM

As a teacher in training, I always found, and believe in, play to be an integral part of learning for young children. When I foster play in the classroom I see young students who are engaged, motivated, and learning without even realizing that I am teaching them exactly what I want them to learn. This article mentions that play is children's work and I couldn't agree more. There are many concepts that can be taught through play as well as many motor functions that can be mastered. More over play helps get rid of some of the energy that youth seems to have infinitely. I have experienced teachers take recess away from children for discipline and half of the students didn't want to go out to recess anyway, for whatever reason...doesn't sound like much of a discipline if that is what the student wanted anyway. I think it is also important to note that when a child is playing, to not interrupt their play and let the children play the way they want/created. I see a teacher all too often approach a student and explain the "right" way they should be playing because they were not bouncing the ball, when the idea of play is to be creative and come up with your own rules of the game you just created.

Brad Pollesch
Brad Pollesch
450 Activity Points

Sat Sep 13, 2014 10:18 PM

Thank you for the post and the great article. I am student teaching in 3rd grade, but being hands on is still crucial at this age too, so I am looking forward to creating some engaging hands on activities for my students. Can't wait to look through all the sites and articles everyone suggested!

Destiny Huggins
Destiny Huggins
9880 Activity Points

Sun Sep 21, 2014 4:17 PM

I really enjoyed the information covered. Play is children's work. Often as we age we stop playing and I always wonder why? Very interesting topic.

Briana Tharas
Briana Tharas
160 Activity Points

Mon Sep 22, 2014 7:54 AM

Thanks so much for posting uploading the information about children play. I am a firm believer that children should learn by playing, especially our preschoolers and elementary age students/children. Its very hands on and fun. Its like an informal assessment.

Catherine Lobrin
Catherine Lobrin
1770 Activity Points

Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:15 PM

If the Finland understands Students must play to ask questions, imagine, create & Finland performs well, is it time for the United States to follow?

Play is Learning in Finland


Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathleen Renfrew
33360 Activity Points

Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:05 PM

Thank you for sharing that article!

Heather Durham
Heather Couser
4285 Activity Points

Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:11 PM

Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:19 PM

Thanks for Sharing. This gave me some good ideas!

Tegan Collier
Tegan Collier
5475 Activity Points

Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:01 PM

One of the things that comes to mind when I think of learning science through play is sorting objects. You may mix plastic tolls with plastic foods in a center and watch how children sort them even if you don't ask them to.

Zeinab Kobeissi
Zeinab Kobeissi
1185 Activity Points

Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:52 PM

Zeinab--

Even more wonderful than that is being able to observe how students from different cultures and backgrounds sort objects. Students organize and place items differently based on their life experiences and what items may be used for at home (in their countries or here). So an answer can be totally correct "back home" and totally incorrect in school here...and completely confusing to a student.

It is something to keep in mind and be cognizant of when offering "ability" testing to students of diverse cultures. Plenty of research suggests that ability tests do not always cross cultures. This has implications on tasks as simple as a primary student sorting objects. Here's a journal articles on ability assessments:

You can't take it with you: Why ability assessments don't cross cultures.
Greenfield, Patricia M.
American Psychologist, Vol 52(10), Oct 1997, 1115-1124. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.52.10.1115

Naomi Beverly
Naomi Beverly
19130 Activity Points

Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:32 PM

What about setting up science exploration opportunities for students during recess? Things like pinwheels, thermometers and barometers, etc.

Sarah Kindel
Sarah Kindel
1255 Activity Points

Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:29 AM

I love this idea! I recently visited the Birch Aquarium in San Diego which has an outdoor exhibit all about energy. This exhibit, called Boundless Energy, was essentially a giant playground for kids of all ages that explored the science behind alternative energy sources--wind, solar, waves--in a very interactive way.

This post reminds me of Finland's educational system, known to be one of the best in the world. Students are in school for a lot less time, they are given very little homework, they take long recess breaks,...they get to be children playing freely and are some of the highest-achieving students in the world. I wonder how we can incorporate this into American public school education?

Parthenopi Milios
Parthenopi Milios
20 Activity Points

Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:32 PM

Thanks for posting!
I definitely think that as educators we should be more conscious of how significant play really is in a child's success to learning. Especially in current times, where free play is getting reduced to such a little amount, and is even non existent in some classrooms.

Rima Alsayed
Rima Alsayed
1315 Activity Points

Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:57 PM

Great article, thanks for sharing!

Martalicia Becerra
Martalicia Becerra
1795 Activity Points

Mon Apr 11, 2016 5:41 PM

This article is very interesting! As an advocate for learning through play, I definitely agree with the ideas presented here. Children most definitely  learn through hands on interaction and play.

Nydia Alvarado
Nydia Alvarado
715 Activity Points

Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:47 PM

I think A LOT of science concepts can be taught through play! A lot of the experiments done with children, they will think it is playing. Children are so much more engaged in activities like this instead of just sitting in lecturing to young children. Learning through play is even beneficial for older students!

One experiment that I did with second graders that they really liked was "Cloud in a Cup". In this experiment, the children really liked putting the shaving cream on top of the water, adding food coloring and watching the food coloring collect and eventually fall like rain.

This link talks about different experiments that children can do that are basically playing!
http://www.fundamentallychildren.com/play-ideas/by-subject/science/

Ashtyn Riley
Ashtyn Riley
3830 Activity Points

Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:25 AM

Thank you for sharing your article! I truly believe that science concepts are taught through play; especially with younger students. It is an essential part of children development and keeps students engaged. I hope to incorporate play more in my classroom as long as I can keep it aligned to not only science, but all lessons!

Emerald Lee
Emerald Lee
345 Activity Points

Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:53 AM

Piaget was one of the greatest advocates for children learning through play, and he has been one of my all time favorites. It is very important that students learn through play, and I have been working with pre-schoolers this semester to contest to that. Thank you for the wonderful resources! I think all the children (not just pre-schoolers) should be learning through play, particularly science!

Norah Basyouni
Norah Basyouni
240 Activity Points

Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:55 PM

This article was great!!! Thank You for sharing these amazing resources . I believe that it is a great idea for kids to learn science through play. This is a great method to encourage an inquiring mind. The ingredients of play are precisely the ones that fuel learning, in addition to promoting a state of low anxiety, play provides opportunities for novel experiences, active engagement, and learning from peers and adults. I believe that teaching students in an early age science will help students think critically and at the end students will love science. These resources are great and I will definitely use them in my future science class.

Liani Pierrot
Liani Pierrot
2710 Activity Points

Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:18 PM

I found an interesting article that talks about why children are so attracted to water, and the value of water play. I've seen a lot of different water tables put together in the preschool classroom where I assist at, and they always have so much fun with them! I've attached the article below.

Mikaela Bahlmann
Mikaela Bahlmann
3185 Activity Points

Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:28 PM

This is a very interesting topic to me, as I recently took a human development course in which we talked about the best ways children learn depending on what developmental stages they are in. In that class, I learned that as you mentioned young children are very curious. Due to their curiosity, they experiment. By doing so, they learn from experience. That is why as I learned in class, play in the classroom and in general has a big impact on the learning of young children. They are having an enjoyable experience when it is incorporated into their learning and they are actually learning, it is an overall positive event. That is why I believe it should be seen as an effective method of learning, and should be incorporated in the classroom more often.

Selena Martinez
Selena Martinez
180 Activity Points

Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:02 PM

I have always been real big in children being able to do hands on activities. I believe we should incorporate more play during a lesson to help students understand the concepts of certain materials. Students will be having fun while they are learning at the same time. Students will be more eager to learn something new and they will most likely remember what they did that day if play was involved in the lesson.

Karolina Ramirez
Karolina Ramirez
40 Activity Points

Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:26 PM

Hello,
I found the article very interesting. I am currently studying Early Childhood education, and in many classes I've been taught that through play children can learn on their own through discovery. After the discovery, as teachers we can facilitate and guide their new formed knowledge. Thank you for sharing this great article!

Kristy Guerra
Kristy Guerra
230 Activity Points

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