Developing Communication and Social Skills through Play
Play is a powerful tool. It goes beyond the realms of simply being just about the fun and provides endless possibilities for learning too. Having the ability to communicate with one’s peers and adults within a social setting, is a vital skill that children need to learn. As always, play is the ideal platform for developing these skills.
This article aims to look at three key areas of development: social development, communication development, and the development of perseverance within the context of play.
Age 12 months to 5 years
As parents and caregivers, we often want to show our children how to do things. But sometimes, leaving them to explore on their own can be the best thing for the development of the smaller mind and this is no truer than for social development. Putting your child in a setting with other children of the same age without adult interference can begin to develop these social skills. Coming in a larger pack size of 16 and 24 pieces, the Magicube Full Color is the perfect set to learn the art of sharing between friends. Allow the children the chance to play with the pieces together, as they create their own masterpieces either alongside or together. The bright and bold colours encourage play, and the durable nature of each set makes it perfect for those children aged 12 months and above.
Age 5 years to 8 years
If you have a group of children within this age bracket, giving them a task to complete together is a great way to develop more complex social skills. The Geomag Classic Panels is idea for this, as there is no end to what can be created; it could be a vehicle, a 3d shape, or even a play park! However, what is being made isn’t what is important. How they go about it, is. Dependent on the size of the group, assigning roles to each child, such as builder, project manager, and supporter, will help to ensure that those children who are more introverted, get a chance to engage and be heard. Allow them to discover all the different size pieces, explore how the magnets work in connecting the pieces together, and allow them to get creative as a team. Their creative minds will be developing as they problem-solve and uncover the basic principles of magnetism, but alongside this, they will unconsciously be developing their social skills too!
Age 12 months to 5 years
For the younger children within this age category, communication is not about verbal as communication comes in many different forms. For example, listening is an integral part of being an effective communicator and the Magicube Shapes sets are a great support in developing this skill. Simply asking your child to place a piece on top of another and then them following this instruction, demonstrates that they are listening. If they do this, offer lots of verbal encouragement and praise to show that they did this correctly, and watch them beam back at you with their smiles! For children aged between 18 months and two years, use the bright colourful blocks to learn about colours. Pick up a block and ask your child what colour it is or maybe even the shape. This may seem simple, but it is these tasks that act as the foundation for more complex communications skills to be developed upon.
Age 5 year to 8 years
The Geomag Supercolor sets are great for encouraging the development of your child’s communication skills due to their limitless possibilities and the ease with which unique creations can be made. Allow your child to create whatever they wish and then ask them to talk to you about it. If your child is not forthcoming, feel free to ask open questions to help the conversation flow. Questions such as getting them to describe what they have created help to encourage your child to develop their vocabulary and increase their confidence in communication. If you have a group of children playing together, sit back and give them the space to communicate with each other without adult intervention. Allow them to ask for the pieces that they want and to reply and respond to their peer’s requests on their own. These may seem like small steps, but they will be sure to have a big impact!
Age 12 month to 5 years.
Leading by example is a great place to start when showing your younger child that practice makes perfect. Using the Magicube Shapes, show your child how to put the magnetic cubes together. Also, you can accidentally knock some off your tower and say ‘whoopsie’. Laugh about it and say, ‘Never mind!’ and start again, but this time completing the tower. It is subtle, but it begins to show your child that it doesn’t matter if you don’t achieve what you are trying to achieve straight away. The beauty of the Magicube sets is that they are a great starter building set for younger children. Due to the magnetic elements within each block, much of the time, your child will be successful in stacking the blocks together. This helps to build their confidence and if a block should fall, then their chances are increased that the second time, they will be successful.
Age 5-8 years
With this slightly older age group, the teaching moves away from leading by example and more toward verbal interaction. The Geomag Classic Panels sets provide the ideal platform for this. More challenging than the Magicube set, the additional complexity will engage your child’s logical and creative mind as they work out how to connect the pieces. Use verbal encouragement to support them, particularly if they appear to be struggling with any aspects of the build. Through a process of trial and error, your child will become more knowledgeable about the concept of magnetism allowing you the chance to sit back and watch your child as they explore and master their building techniques!
The Geomag world has a lot to offer every family or play setting. Not only does it offer endless hours of fun, but its unique design offers the platform to teach children the art of communication, socialising, and the importance of perseverance. Whether you are young or old, there has never been a better time to get creative with Geomag!