Learning Through Play

Published 24/08/17

Taking the outdoor classroom seriously for 30 Summer play days!

It's only in the last few years that the true value of play has been put under the spotlight. Play is commonly thought of as pointless fun and a distraction from true learning when in reality, learning and play are deeply entwined. With the evolution of brainy scientists, we now have factual evidence that play experiences change the connections of neurons at the front of the brain. This scientific gobbledygook essentially means that there is now actual proof that playing helps develop problem solving, social and emotional skills in youngsters.

Children have a natural hunger to be creative and invent new worlds. Their inquisitive minds can transform a simple object into an exciting den, car or playhouse. KOMPAN is taking imaginative play to another level and have created whimsical products like our wooden ships that allow children to fully immerse themselves in their play character, being able to steer the ship, sail the seas and look out for enemies! If we put this into perspective, while children think they are just having a whale of a time, they are actually learning about how a vehicle works, thinking creatively and learning self-confidence. Similarly, our sand play units support cognitive-creative development, using the sand funnel, scoops and holders; they can sculpt their own masterpiece!

A more obvoius advantage of play is that it equips children with key social skills that they will need as they grow up. Having to share play equipment with other children in social environment helps children to learn how to commnicate with others and how to build relationships.The traditional see-saw teaches them that they have to put in an equal amount of effort to share a fun experience, if one tot doesn't push, the other won't come back down! Take a zip line as another example; this requires patience and an ability to share. When one child has soared to the other end of the playground, they need to pull it back to the next child in line.

All children learn differently and have different cognitive capacities as they grow, so playground planners need to carefully consider how they build their play products. This is why KOMPAN has a play institute, a team of people passionate about learning, who talk with researchers and scientists to understand how kids learn best. They then get stuck in with developing our products to conjure up playgrounds that really challenge children and become hubs for learning and development. They even draw circles over our designs so we know all the ways that children can benefit from our products!

Seeing it differently - Squeezing the fun out of play in favour of more book learning may be a bad move. Children are not naturally gifted with the knowledge of how to interact with others and they are conquering this big wide world one swing at a time! Parents need to trust in play and the way that it nurtures and prepares their little minds for the challenging paths ahead of them. It's is no longer just a bit of fun, it develops language, manipulative, verbal, judgement and reasoning skills … just to name a few!