Importance of Exploratory Play in Early Childhood.

Have you ever wondered why children chose the weirdest things to play with?
What is the charm behind a plastic bowl? Or the wooden spoon from the kitchen?
We often see how a kid prefers to play with the toy’s box than with the toy itself.
But why is that?
Exploratory play is that particular stage of play development where children begin to scour and investigate their surroundings.
Children learn by playing, and because of this, when kids engage in exploratory play, they are actually learning and understanding how their immediate world functions.
As we have learned from this study Frontiers | The Efficiency of Infants’ Exploratory Play Is Related to Longer-Term Cognitive Development | Psychology, a definition of exploratory play is kind of difficult to come by. Some studies focus on object manipulation and how it changes over the years while others have had focused on the relationship between object manipulation and visual attention.
Despite this complication for a definition, it is almost certain that we can say that exploratory play is when children use their senses to engage in direct contact with their environment.
Exploratory play is often strongly linked to cognitive development, and that is why it is encouraged in children from 0 to 5 years.

What is the relationship between cognitive development and exploratory play?

As a child find out about how things around them feel, taste, or function, their natural curiosity increases. Children who engage in exploratory play are more likely to continue that exploratory behavior to learn more things about their world.
Exploratory play helps with language development and abstract thinking. While children explore their immediate surroundings, their brains are making thousands of neurological connections, feeding the Neuroplasticity that will allow new paths of learning inside their heads.
Every time a child is exploring a toy or a particular environment, their problem-solving capabilities are at play.
Motor skill and exploratory play are also close to one another. The capacity of children to engage with exploratory play is directly related to their motor abilities.
More and more refined motor skills mean more opportunities to explore the environment, and therefore, greater chances to enhance the cognitive development of a child.
From the same study we quoted above, we extract one of their conclusions which support the role of motor skills in exploratory play and child development:
Although our exploratory play assessment was designed to involve comparable motor demands across tasks (reaching for and manipulating objects), and although infants did not differ on other measures of motor capability (e.g., latency to reach for novel objects) it is nonetheless possible that infants who discovered more functions of a toy relative to their total play-time had more advanced motor skills overall (see e.g., Bornstein et al., 2013). If so, it may be that infants who are relatively advanced in their motor development are relatively advanced in cognitive development as well, that advances in motor development contribute to cognitive development through enhanced opportunities for interaction and exploration, or that exploratory play has differential effects on children at varying stages of motor development.
The development of a child is a holistic process. Different factors are constantly interacting to achieve the diverse milestones of maturation.
Finally, it seems to be a connection between social skills and exploratory play. For young children, social-emotional skills are of a great deal of importance. Exploratory play is a great tool to promote both development and social skills in children.

How can you promote exploratory play?

There are several activities that parents can use to encourage exploratory play. Here are some of them:
  • Mirror, mirror: this is a great game for children in the earliest stages of development since it helps them to explore and recognize their bodies.
  • Put a new toy in a different environment: this activity is great both for motor skills and exploratory play. Curiosity will lead the child to go where that new toy is and then to take a look in this new environment.
  • Going to the backyard: your garden is full of opportunities for exploratory play. If you have a playground, a sandpit, or some climbing frames, you can use them as a vehicle to push exploratory play and its benefits.
Spimbey is the pinned location for fun.
Our products are the perfect ally not only to light up those dull days but also to help your children in their early years of development.
Go through our shop today and see the different options we offer to customize the fun. Our team is eager to know about your inquiries and doubts.

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