*This is a collaborative post. 

Learning through play is an important part of a child’s early development. Not only do they enjoy the time spent playing with their toys. They create avenues to improvements in skills children need, as they progress through their educational career. Learning through play enhances a child’s language and communication skills, it gives them the platform to develop their fine motor skills, it also allows them to express themselves and encourages their individual characters to surface.

I don’t believe that all of this can be achieved by placing a child in a room with a bunch of toys and leaving them to get on with it. It’s a matter of selecting the right products that are fun, but that also offer more than meets the eye. It’s about putting time and effort into working out how your child responds to certain activities and taking advantage of this knowledge to help them with their early development.

Playroom essentials –

In order for our children to get the most out of their early years, there are a few essentials that you can include in their playroom to encourage positive development. A huge part of the learning process for small children is role play. Whether that includes dressing up, playing house or looking after babies, role play encompasses a whole of host of skills that children benefit from learning. That’s why a home corner is our go to playroom essential! Take a look at Kiddies Kingdom’s range of Silver Cross products for sale to create the perfect home corner.

Problem solving skills – problem solving doesn’t have to involve your child sitting down at a table with a sum in front of them. Simply thinking for themselves, without constant prompts from adults gives a child the space to work out their next move all by themselves. In a role play setting, the scenario they’re playing out comes from within, children benefit from making their own choices in these situations and witnessing the aftermath of those decisions. Not all decisions will be the right ones, but that’s where the problem solving element to role play comes in. The chances are a bad decision won’t be made over and over again, if the negative outcome is witnessed by the child.

Social and emotional skills – playing someone else’s role forces the child into putting themselves into the other person’s shoes. They have to work out attitudes and feelings, which is an excellent way to develop social and emotional skills. This encourages empathy and boosts the emotional intelligence of individuals.

Speech and language skills – there’s no better way to encourage a child’s speech and language skills than by getting them to explore the vocabulary they already have. This boosts their confidence in their own abilities, which in turn encourages them to push the boundaries and try new words, tones and sentence structures.

More playroom essentials –

Here are more playroom essentials from parents in the know;

Claire from Red Kite Days – ‘ Plastic tubs with lids to group different types of toys. It’s easier to tidy up at the end too. We’ve got one with small animals, another for trains etc’.

Eliza from My Everything Beautiful – ‘Paint/colours because we can then discuss about what they’re doing. For example, when my toddler wants to draw a dinosaur, he will tell me when he’s drawing the nose, eyes, feet, etc., and that way he’s learning a lot of things. We do lots of other stuff with paint and it’s so fun!’

Laura from Five Little Doves – ‘We have lots of educational posters up around the play room such as a map of the world, the alphabet, days of the week, etc just so that even when they are playing they are still taking notice of them and some of that information is going in.’

Jennie from Rice Cakes and Raisins – ‘Pens and paper! They’ve had hours of fun creating designs, drawing pictures and colouring over the years.’

Jo from Cup of Toast – ‘Anything that is versatile. We love regular Lego (or Duplo / Mega Bloks for younger children) and wooden building blocks. We also have lots of role play stuff, with a dressing up box with play food. When they dress up they sometimes incorporate their Lego creations into their pretend worlds which I love!’

Erica from The Incidental Parent – ‘ Duplo! Without a doubt. My 7 year old still plays with his.
Great for learning colours, shapes, numbers and imaginative play. We make Minecraft worlds!”

Kate from Ever After with Kids – ‘ find my children learn the most through imaginative role play, when they’re dressing up or playing with figurines and creating story lines. I’d definitely include either costumes or figurines to enable this, maybe even both if you can!’