At Rice University School Literacy and Culture, we understand The Critical Importance of Play. As you prepare to do your holiday shopping, we’d like to offer some suggestions for gifts that promote imagination and creativity in preschool age children.
The items below can be found and purchased on our Amazon Book Store.
Blocks are a big hit with children and parents alike. Building with blocks provides one of the most valuable learning experiences available for young children. Block play stimulates learning in all domains of development: intellectual, physical, social-emotional and language. Blocks are open-ended. Young children begin stacking them and soon they expand to creating castles, doll houses and roadways for cars in make-believe villages. These changes in the way in which children play with blocks makes them a wise investment, as they will certainly make for years of enjoyment.
Reading aloud is the single most important thing you can do for your child. It develops their vocabulary, increases their general knowledge and provides them insight into other cultures and the world around them. Sharing a book with your child is a positive experience that allows the two of you to grow closer. Early exposure to great literature helps children to begin viewing books as a treat and an indulgence rather than a chore.
Art supplies are a major catalyst for creative play. When a child creates a picture, paints a self-portrait, or hangs buttons from a pipe cleaner mobile, that child is beginning to communicate visually. Children draw and create to share experiences that might otherwise not be expressed. Art allows children to express their creativity, encourages focus and concentration, and develops fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. It also allows children to develop a sense of self-worth.
Play and Story
Imaginative play is a key contributor to a child’s overall development. It allows children to work through feelings, assists them in making sense of the world and builds empathy as your children put themselves in someone else’s shoes. When children participate in imaginative play, they are naturally exercising their ability to be innovative. Research shows that anything that encourages role-playing is considered good for the brain. Staying in character requires discipline and impulse-control as well as promotes self-regulation.
Active play happens when children use their large muscles to move around. This play releases energy and develops fine and gross motor coordination. The outdoors is the perfect natural setting for active imaginative play.
Authored by Brooke Brown, Rice University School Literacy and Culture