More Research Shows Preschoolers Learn Best Through Play and Exploration (and a Few Fun Links)

As if we needed more studies to show that preschoolers don’t need formal education, two new studies have shown that little ones are better at learning and solving problems when they are not instructed about it first.  In Slate’s Why Preschool Shouldn’t Be Like School, researcher Alison Gopnik cites the studies and how they surprised the scientists:

As so often happens in science, two studies from different labs, using different techniques, have simultaneously produced strikingly similar results. They provide scientific support for the intuitions many teachers have had all along: Direct instruction really can limit young children’s learning.

The author concludes the article with something most of us know already:

Knowing this, it’s more important than ever to give children’s remarkable, spontaneous learning abilities free rein. That means a rich, stable, and safe world, with affectionate and supportive grown-ups, and lots of opportunities for exploration and play. Not school for babies. 

Want to play with your kiddos today?  Here’s some sites with some fun inspiration…

  • Meyamo has a wonderful PDF page showing how to make a dozen gorgeous colors of natural paint with powdered sugar, a bit of boiling water and fruits and vegetables like spinach, carrots, raspberries, coffee and lemons.
  • Twenty-five different blogs took part in Tinkerbox’s Cardboard Box Challenge and I love some of the things they came up with, like the way Teach Preschool’s little carpenter not only used parts of boxes to make walls of a little house but he even made planks of floors.  Then there’s the splat paint box, the marble run, the castle, the loom…
  • I love The Artful Parent’s Spray Painted Canvas Patio Walls!  We do something similar with an old sheet all summer (yes, that’s the same sheet over the years in the pictures!).  We hang it on the clothesline and attack it with paint, spray bottles of colored water, you name it, and then just wash it and use it for our table cover when we do messy crafts inside.  I love the way it constantly changes depending on the latest art adventures, with some designs lasting forever through the new.

Happy Wednesday!


Filed under the big stuff

7 responses to “More Research Shows Preschoolers Learn Best Through Play and Exploration (and a Few Fun Links)

  1. Christine Heart-Skaggs

    In RI, play is the number one standard for preschool. But, it’s still amazing how many don’t do it. Recently, my kids and I cut shapes in the grass. They had a blast and I got a patch mowed. If I can figure out, I post a picture.

  2. Thanks for sharing. It’s always nice to have good, solid research I can share with the well-meaning folks who think homeschool will ruin my son forever and ever and ever. 🙂

  3. Yeah, common sense, really. We are way beyond preschool and still learning naturally. It’s the only way to go…

  4. Thank you for the links! I’m always on the look out for fun things to do with my girls. 🙂

  5. We tried the paint today – it’s kind of like painting with frosting – very, very messy, but my youngest two had loads of fun!

  6. How did I miss the Slate Article? It’s great! And thanks for including the TinkerLab link — the cardboard box challenge was so much fun, and there are sure to be more to come. So glad to know about your site!

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