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Help Your Kids Learn Key Life Skills Through Games And Role Play

Posted by Jane Shearer on July 22, 2020 at 3:00 PM

caroline-hernandez-TMpQ5R9mbOc-unsplashWith millions of Australian kids back in school, learning has been kicked into high gear as the country’s children try to make up for any lost time in the classroom. While experts have reiterated the importance of classroom learning in a child’s education, there is also plenty of learning opportunities beyond the traditional classroom setting.

For years, studies have shown the benefits of play to a child’s development and provide a great platform for encouraging learning and bonding at home. From developing their financial skills at home to encouraging the growth of their social skills, here is how parents can use role play and games to teach their child key life skills and support their classroom learning.

How Games And Role Play Can Help Children Learn

According to Harvard Graduate School Of Education, play allows children to explore and understand the world around them within safe limits. It also encourages them to take control of their learning by giving them control of their play scenario and imagination. Adventure, fantasy, and augmented reality games allow them to explore their imaginations and in some cases, encourage physical activity.

By using props that interest them, like a cut-out or action figure from a role-playing fantasy game they enjoy, you can personalise the game and have a higher chance of maintaining their attention.

In early childhood, play is also said to support all 3 core childhood developmental principles: supporting relationships, developing core life skills, and reducing sources of stress. Even in adulthood, play is effective in the relief of stress since it helps to reduce endorphins. Strategy-oriented role play games have also been shown to aid brain development in childhood while role-play games stimulate creativity.

Even in their teenage years, young adults can benefit from role-playing and games by giving them increased independence, greater autonomy for creative thinking, and encouraging social interaction. Some studies have also highlighted the perks of video games for kids including increased social interaction, creativity, and develop visual-spatial skills.

Enhance Their Motor Skills And Coordination

Many children can have a delay in fine motor skills, gross motor skills, or both. Approximately 5-6 percent of children deal with motor skill delays. Another study by Oregon State University showed that children with autism can be up to a year behind their peers in gross and fine motor skills.

Games that can help children practise their grip and coordination skills can be a fundamental start to later core life skills. These include feeding themselves, buttoning their clothing, tying their shoelaces, or even gripping their pens correctly in the classroom.

Develop Their Financial And Numeracy Skills

Around 61 percent of people believe parents are a key influence in the way they manage their money, according to County Financial’s recent study. This highlights just how vital parents can be in helping their child learn core life skills, including money management.

However, instead of long-winded talks and textbooks, children can use games for financial literacy. From basic spending and saving lessons to the basics of budgeting, debt and debt management, video and board games provide valuable money teaching opportunities. Some great board games to help you get started include Monopoly, The Game of Life, and PayDay.

Help Their Social Skills Evolve

Games and role play can also help your child develop their social and communication skills by giving them the chance to ask questions, assume alternate personas and personalities and provide good role model scenarios for them to emulate. Depending on their age group, children benefit heavily on important social lesions including turn-taking, self-regulation, and cooperation.

So, by getting your child involved in a group or turn-taking game like a soccer game you are giving them the chance to practice turn-taking with others and appropriate behavior in group scenarios. 

Finally, role playing promotes a child’s imagination. This opens up the window for parents to teach children emotional regulation. Pretend or make-believe scenarios can provide valuable teaching moments for you to help your child navigate new or scary citations without panicking. It is also a great way to help them overcome childhood fears. For instance, children with a fear of going to the dentist or doctor may be able to overcome these with the help of role-playing games.

Therefore, play is not just about letting your children have fun but also letting them learn about themselves and the world around them in a fun way. By incorporating more role-playing into your child's daily activities, parents can aid their child's social skills in profound ways.

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Topics: Attention, Social Skills, Learning Capacity, Maths, Social & Emotional Learning

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