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Play at Home

mum and daughter playing Mum and daughter playing   Guest post by Katie Emms of @my_little_fidget After 15 years of working in Early Years and gaining my qualifications to become an Early Years Professional, I left my full time role as a Pre-School Manager to have my son, who is now two years old. From my time in Early Years, I knew it was important to work with parents and I always felt strongly that parents are their child’s very first educators. THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY AT HOME While I was on maternity I began to understand the importance of play within the home environment and how it sets the foundations for later learning. Amazingly, by giving your child the opportunity to play at home, you’re also giving them the best start in life. As parents, we are our child’s first educators and their learning starts from birth. From the moment you begin to smile at your baby, talk to them during the day, go on a walk, sing songs, have cuddles and meet their physical and emotional needs, you are teaching your child.

All these activities that go on during the newborn days are the start of your child’s learning journey. Understanding the role of play in learning is crucial for us to be good parents. It is through play – by engaging in new experiences and activities which interest them and meet their individual needs - that children build on their previous skills and knowledge and develop their learning further. During play, children use language/communication, mathematical knowledge, creativity, knowledge and understanding of the world, physical activity and problem solving. It is a powerful way for children to learn effectively at their own pace! 90% of a child’s brain development happens by the age of five, which is why the early years are so vital and children need to be exposed to a variety of experiences. Different experiences will introduce new vocabulary and build on previous knowledge to take their learning forward. Experiences within the home do not need to be expensive - it can be as simple as a walk to the shops where you describe what you are doing and encourage them to take an active role by encouraging them to pay. Activities at home can include simple things such as puzzles, stories, singing and trips to the park. In everything we do as parents however, we need to lead by example. Naturally, young children will look up to and admire their parents and other close relatives. Currently my son loves running as I take part in our local Park Runs every Saturday. I began these because I wanted him to see exercise as a part of our regular routine that is enjoyable and fun. I believe that we should be the person we want our child to become. You will be surprised at how much your child watches and observes you at home!

Katy Emms runs an Instagram page to encourage and inspire parents to play at home with their children in different and imaginative ways that support their child’s development. Visit @my_little_fidget to learn more about how to create and  expose your child to experiences and activities that are simple and cheap to set up at home.