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# Play in Preschool: Why it Matters (page 2)

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Updated on Aug 27, 2013

## Problem Solving and Mathematics

Children can solve complex problems that arise as they play and learn a few mathematical principals as well. Blocks and puzzles are excellent “basics” to provide your child with many opportunities to foster these important skills.

• Blocks. Playing with blocks provides for many problem solving scenarios. How can we make it balance? How tall can we make this tower? Can we build a castle? Children also learn some basic math concepts with the various shapes and sizes of the blocks.
• Puzzles. When trying to make puzzle pieces fit, children are gaining important math and problem solving experience. Learning a bit about sizes (is the piece too big for that spot?) and shapes (does the shape of the piece look the same as the hole?) You can encourage this learning by engaging in conversations as your child plays. Your child will also gain an important sense of accomplishment as her practice leads to a completed puzzle in the end.

## Gross and Fine Motor Development

Gross motor skills involve the large muscles of the legs and arms while fine motor development is building the muscles of the hands that will be used for writing. Play can provide many opportunities to work on strengthening these muscles without your child even being aware of it!

• Stringing Beads and Lacing. Giving children beads and plastic tipped laces provide a fun way to work on fine muscle control. Your child can create a beautiful necklace while strengthening the fine motor muscles. Lacing cards or child safe needles and burlap will also provide fun “sewing” projects for young children.
• Balls and Balance Beams. Kicking balls and walking on balance beams can help your child become more coordinated. Get outside and kick a ball around, create a goal area to make it a game. Anytime you see a narrow brick wall or wooden plank, give your child some assisted practice at balancing.

Gather up the toys you have around the house and make it a point to provide ample time for play. Playing around with your child is sure to provide many wonderful childhood memories and reap some great educational benefits as well!

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